Former Swedish neo-Nazi jailed for masterminding Auschwitz sign theft

Beijing, Dec 31 (ANI): A former Swedish neo-Nazi has reportedly been sentenced to over two years of imprisonment for masterminding the theft of the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the entrance of memorial museum on the site of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

On Thursday, a court in the southern Polish city of Krakow, sentenced 34-year-old Anders Hogstrom to two years and eight months imprisonment for his role in the theft.

According to The Independent, the 16 feet wide sign, a lasting symbol of the Holocaust which states "Work Sets You Free", was removed from the gate of the former Auschwitz camp more than a year ago and found in woods in northern Poland three days later.

A gang of five Poles with a so-called "Swedish connection" was held responsible for the theft. They had planned to ship the sign to Sweden where it was to be sold. The theft provoked international outrage and protests from Israel and Jewish groups worldwide, the paper said.

Hogstrom, who helped set up a far right anti-immigrant group called the 'National Socialist Front in Sweden' in the 1990s, told the court calmly after he was sentenced: "Yes I accept the verdict." Polish court spokesman said Hogstrom had reached a deal with prosecutors, which would allow him to be sent to Sweden to serve his sentence.

Besides, the court also sentenced two Polish men identified as Marcin Auguscinski and Andrzej Strychalski to jails terms of 30 months and 28 months respectively for stealing the sign and cutting it into three pieces to get it into their getaway vehicle. Auguscinski apparently met Hogstrom more than two years ago while doing odd jobs on his family estate in southern Sweden. (ANI)

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