26 Jun 2011

Israeli couple admit stealing Auschwitz artefacts

2:13 pm on 26 June 2011

An Israeli couple have been given suspended prison sentences in Poland for the theft of historic artefacts from the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

The nine items, including spoons and a pair of scissors, were found in their luggage during a routine check as they prepared to board a flight to Israel, the BBC reports.

The 60-year-old man and 57-year-old woman admitted taking the items during a tour of the former concentration camp, now a museum.

The couple have agreed to pay a contribution towards the preservation of the site.

More than 1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered by the Germans at Auschwitz during during World War II.

In 2009 the metal entrance sign bearing the inscription, 'Arbeit Macht Frei' ('Work sets you free'), was stolen and damaged.

The original gate was recovered and five Polish men were later convicted of the theft on behalf of Anders Hoegstroem, who helped found the National Socialist Front party in Sweden in 1994. He was sentenced to prison in his homeland following his conviction in Poland.