Stolen Dachau Concentration Camp Gate Recovered In Norway

The Arbeit Macht Frei sign in the main gate of Dachau concentration camp, Germany. Photo: GaryBlakeley / CC BY-SA 3.0

The iron gate from the Dachau concentration camp which featured the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work will set you free) was stolen two years ago. Thanks to an anonymous tip, police have recovered the gate in Norway.

The 100kg (220lb) gate was reported as having been stolen on November 2, 2014.  The theft caused an immediate uproar and Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, called the theft “appalling.”

The Dachau camp is located a few miles from Munich.  It opened in 1933, less than two months after Hitler became chancellor.  It was originally used to hold political prisoners. During World War II, it became a death camp with over 41,000 Jews killed there before US troops liberated it in 1945.

Auschwitz has a sign with the same phrase on it.  That sign was stolen in 2009.  The Swedish neo-Nazi, Anders Högström was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for the theft, The Guardian reported.

Eventually, the Auschwitz sign was found though it had been cut into three pieces.   A replica was used at the camp until the restored original was replaced above the entrance in 2011.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE