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Three Charged in Auschwitz Sign Theft

Three Charged in Auschwitz Sign Theft

(JTA) — Polish prosecutors charged a Swedish man and two Polish men in the theft of the "Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from the front gate of Auschwitz.

The Swede, Anders Hogstrom, a neo-Nazi leader who allegedly organized the theft as a middleman between a neo-Nazi buyer and five Polish thieves, reportedly struck a plea bargain with Polish prosecutors on Thursday. Under the terms of the deal, Hogstrum will serve 32 months in jail in his native Sweden, the French news service AFP reported Thursday.

The 5-meter across, iron sign, which means "work makes you free," was stolen on Dec. 18, 2009 and recovered across the country, cut into three pieces, 72 hours later.

Hogstrom, who was arrested in February in Stockholm and extradited to Poland in April, founded the National Socialist Front, a Swedish neo-Nazi movement, in 1994. He could have faced 10 years in prison on the charges. It is not known whether the Polish court in Krakow will accept the terms of the plea bargain.

Three of the thieves have already been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison each.

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