“Arbeit macht frei.” Work makes you free. Those three German words sat over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland for the better part of a century until the 16-foot, 90-pound sign went missing Friday. Police found it in northern Poland on Sunday, cut into three pieces. Five men were arrested.

Why take it? Was it to become a morbid souvenir? Perhaps it was meant to be destroyed. Authorities have announced no motive, reports the BBC.

BBC:

Its theft, the motive for which was not being reported, caused outrage in Israel and among Polish politicians.

Five men in their 20s or 30s were detained and were being taken to Krakow for questioning, a police spokeswoman said.

More than a million people – 90% of them Jews – were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig