American teen sentenced over Auschwitz vandalism

Polish court gives suspended one-year sentence to 17-year-old American for scratching his name into the barracks at Nazi death camp.

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Ben Ariel,

Auschwitz
Auschwitz
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A Polish court has given a suspended one-year sentence to a 17-year-old American for scratching his name into the barracks at the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, The Associated Press reported Monday, citing Polish news agency PAP.

The teenager was detained in July for inscribing his name on one of the interior walls at the memorial site after being caught by a guide, according to the report.

Identified only as Raphael A., he was also ordered Monday to pay 1,000 zlotys ($280) to the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.

Judge Konrad Gwozdziewicz said the sentence was light because the defendant was young, had no previous convictions and showed remorse.

The suspect reportedly attends a religious school for future rabbis.

In recent years there have been several incidents of vandalism and even desecration at Auschwitz. Earlier this year, two Belgians were put on trial for stealing parts of an electric fence from the former Nazi death camp.

The two 50-year-olds, identified only as Yann P.-B. and William H., were detained last July as they tried to remove three porcelain electrical isolators.

Last year, two British teenagers were caught stealing from Auschwitz while on a school trip.

In the most dramatic theft, the ominous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes You Free) sign was stolen from the former death camp's historic gate in 2009. It was found days later, cut into pieces.

The Poles who stole it and the Swedish man who instigated them were sentenced to prison, and the sign was later restored.

In March, 11 men and women in their twenties were detained by Polish police after they slaughtered a sheep and took their clothes off at the former Nazi death camp. Their motive was unclear.








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