Warsaw: The three pieces of the infamous
sign proclaiming "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) will
be welded together and restored to the main gate at the former
Auschwitz death camp after an improved security system is put
in place to guard against another theft.
Officials at the Auschwitz memorial museum said
yesterday the new system would be aimed at better protecting
not just the recovered sign but many other objects testifying
to Nazi crimes - from two tons of human hair to a trove of
written documents to the ruins of gas chambers now sinking
into the earth.
"The location of the sign is its only authentic one,
above the gate of the former Auschwitz I camp," museum
director Piotr Cywinski said. "The sign will return there as
soon as possible, after ensuring the protection of its site
against damage and burglary."
Surveillance cameras and around-the-clock foot patrols
already protect the vast 200-hectare site - which includes
Auschwitz I, where the sign was stolen, and nearby Birkenau.
But museum spokesman Jaroslaw Mensfelt said it's now clear
that isn't enough and that "the future security system will
have to be better."
The added cost involved only adds to the museum's
troubles, because it is already dealing with dilapidated
structures demanding enormous preservation efforts if they are
to continue to stand as a testament for future generations.
First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 09:03