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Auschwitz Theft – Canadians let off

KRAKOW TOURS – An appeal by the Auschwitz museum against the dropping of charges against two Canadian teachers, who were caught red-handed in June while trying to steal “mementoes” from German Nazi death camp, will be heard this week.

Even though the two men were caught red-handed, the Prosecutor’s Office in Oswiecim dropped the case, claiming that it was petty theft, which did not affect the national heritage of Poland.

“The museum’s guards found two metal railway pins wrapped in paper in the men’s rucksacks. The pins are a part of the historic train track, where camp prisoners were selected and some directed to gas chambers,” says Piotr Cywinski, head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau National Museum.

“I was shocked when I read [the case had been dismissed]. Does that mean that each of over one million visitors who annually come to Auschwitz can take a souvenir from the camp with them? A brick from a crematorium or a piece of a barbed wire? The Prosecutor’s Office and police are permitting the looting of the camp,” complains Cywinski.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the entire 200-ha area is regarded as a mass grave site.

“If police and the Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted the Auschwitz gate sign thieves, why don’t they charge these Canadian teachers, who admitted they intended to commit a theft?” asks Cywinski.

Prosecutors say the two crimes are not comparable, however. “There’s a difference between masterminding the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign theft and picking up two pieces of metal from the ground,” Mariusz Slomka from the Prosecutor’s Office in Oswiecim told the Dziennik Polski.

On 19 August, the Court in Oswiecim will consider an appeal against the discontinuation of the case, filed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.

Visit Auschwitz with KRAKOWTOURS.CO.UK the only UK tour company operating in Krakow

August 17, 2010 - Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , ,

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