Stolen 'Work Sets You Free' Gate Back at Dachau

Famous wrought-iron gate was found under a tarp in a Norwegian parking lot
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2017 12:41 PM CST
Stolen 'Works Sets You Free' Gate Back at Dachau
A copy of the historic gate at the memorial site of the former Dachau concentration camp is photographed in Dachau, Germany, on Wednesday.   (Sven Hoppe)

The wrought-iron gate to the Nazis' Dachau concentration camp, which prompted an international outcry when it was stolen more than two years ago, has been returned to the German memorial site. The gate, bearing the slogan "Arbeit macht frei," ("Work sets you free"), was located in Norway's western Bergen area after authorities received an anonymous tip late last year, the AP reports. "We had almost given up hope and a replica had been made and installed at the original place," the head of the memorial site said as the gate was returned Wednesday. The theft of the gate "was one of the worst attacks on the Dachau camp memorial," she said, adding that it remains very important to survivors that authorities continue the investigation into who stole the gate.

The theft in November 2014 was viewed by many as a desecration; the cynical inscription has become a central symbol for the ordeal of the Nazi prisoners who walked past the gate each day on their way to slave labor work. The gate was found under a tarp in a parking lot in Norway's Ytre Arna settlement. It won't be returned to its original place, where the replica now stands, but will become part of the permanent exhibit, where it will be kept inside an air-conditioned glass cabinet with an alarm. It will first be shown to the public on April 30, the anniversary of the liberation 72 years ago by US forces. It was the second time in recent years a Nazi camp gate was targeted by thieves: In December 2009, the "Arbeit macht frei" sign spanning the main gate of the Auschwitz death camp was stolen. (Read more Dachau stories.)

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