08 April 2010
The Swedish former neo-Nazi leader Anders Högström is to be extradited to Poland on Friday over the theft of the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ sign from the former Auschwitz death camp, Polish police have said. "He will be transported Friday to Warsaw and then to Krakow where prosecutors are investigating the case," police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told the AFP news agency. Högström, 34, was arrested in February in Stockholm over the theft of the notorious sign from the gate of the former Nazi death camp in December 2009. In March, a Stockholm court allowed his extradition to Poland to stand trial there.
Högström in 1994 founded the National Socialist Front, a Swedish neo-Nazi movement which he headed for five years before quitting. He told Swedish media he was to act as an intermediary to pick up the sign and sell it to a buyer, but claimed that he informed Polish police about the people behind the plot.
Polish police recovered the metal sign, whose German inscription means "Work will set you free” a few days after it was stolen. They arrested and charged five Polish men. The sign, which had been cut into three parts, has long symbolized the horror of Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered between 1940 and 1945.
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