Italian Man Steals Barbed Wire from Auschwitz

66-year-old Italian man arrested after being caught with a piece of barbed wire he stole from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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Elad Benari,

Flash 90

A 66-year-old Italian citizen was arrested over the weekend at the Krakow airport in Poland, after he was caught with a piece of barbed wire 30 centimeters in length which he stole from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

According to local police, the detainee said he wanted to take a memento from Auschwitz to his father, who died in the concentration camp.

The man was reportedly released without being charged after police determined that the area from which he took the wire does not fall within the areas of the camp which are protected by law.

This is not the first time that local authorities have detained people who wanted “souvenirs” from the extermination camp at Auschwitz. In the past year a French citizen was arrested on similar charges, after being caught at the airport with two barbed wires he had taken from the death camp.

Last year, two Israelis - a 60-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman - were found with spoons, a pair of scissors and other items taken from the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

They originally claimed they found the items but later confessed that they stole then, an offense that carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison.

The couple was given a suspended two-year jail sentence after cooperating with police. They accepted the suspended sentence, agreed to pay towards preserving the site and were allowed to return to Israel.

In 2009, five thieves stole the sign which hung on the main gate at Auschwitz and cut it into pieces. The sign was later welded back together and restored almost to its previous condition.