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Thieves Steal Infamous Dachau Death Camp ‘Work Sets You Free’ Gate

The 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Gate at Dachau Has Been Stolen 0:32

MAINZ, Germany - A gate bearing Dachau death camp’s infamous “Work sets you free” slogan has been stolen, German police told NBC News on Monday. “We believe that a minimum of two people would be able to carry away the heavy gate so we are searching for more than one unidentified individual,” spokesman Guenther Beck from Bavarian police said, adding that the theft occurred early Sunday morning. The thieves had to penetrate an outer security fence at the camp, which is now a historic commemoration site, in order to get to the front gate, according to officials.

Dachau, near Munich, was the first death camp set up by the Nazis in 1933 and served as a model for later concentration camps. More than 200,000 people from across Europe were held there by the Nazis and 41,500 prisoners died before it was liberated by U.S. forces in April 1945. In December 2009, a similar iron sign was stolen at the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, but recovered by police three days later. “This is a new quality [of] desecration,” Gabriele Hammermann, head of Dachau's commemoration site, said Monday. “We have irregular guard patrols six to seven times per night at the camp, but all of the former concentration camps in Germany have so far not installed cameras, as we do not want to make these locations once again a high-security facility in respect for the deceased.”

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- Andy Eckardt