Polish Interior Ministry spokeswoman Wioletta Paprocka said on Saturday afternoon that border guards at Poland's eastern border with Ukraine and Belarus - which is also the European Union's eastern frontier - stepped up checks of goods out of Poland in efforts to locate the sign. Checks have also been tightened at airports.
Interior Minister Jerzy Miller ordered police to increase vigilance and question all possible witnesses and suspects in a nationwide effort to find the sign that stands as one of Nazi Germany's most chilling symbols.
Lawmakers, officials and Holocaust survivors expressed their profound shock and outrage on Friday after thieves made away with the sign.
Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo said police believe it was stolen between 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. Friday morning, when museum guards noticed that it was missing and alerted police.
Padlo also said that the iron sign, which spanned a gate at the main entrance to the former Nazi death camp in southern Poland, was removed by being unscrewed on one side and pulled off on the other.
Police deployed 50 investigators and a search dog to the Auschwitz grounds, where barracks, watchtowers and ruins of gas chambers still stand as testament to the atrocities inflicted by Nazi Germany.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Polish Authorities Put Reward Up For Stolen Auschwitz Sign
Polish authorities have put a $39,000 reward for the return of the infamous sign that hung over the entrance to Auschwitz. It was stolen yesterday and it is possible that neo-Nazis may have been behind the theft. They apparently unscrewed the sign and made off with it by cutting through a barbed wire fence.