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Historic Nazi gate with cynical slogan Work Sets You Free stolen from Dachau camp

Nov 3, 2014 12:36 IST

Germany’s historic wrought-iron gate bearing the Nazis’ cynical slogan Arbeit macht frei (Work Sets You Free) was stolen from the former concentration camp at Dachau on 2 November 2014.

The wrought-iron gate measured 190 by 95 centimeters and was set into a larger iron gate.

Earlier in December 2009, similar infamous Arbeit macht frei sign that spanned the main gate of the Auschwitz death camp, built by the Nazis in occupied Poland was stolen.

Nazis’ cynical slogan Arbeit macht frei
Arbeit macht frei is a German phrase that means work makes you free. This slogan was placed over the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

The expression of the phrase comes from the title of a novel by German philologist Lorenz Diefenbach, Arbeit macht frei: Erzahlung von Lorenz Diefenbach (1873), in which gamblers and fraudsters find the path to virtue through labour.

The phrase was adopted in 1928 by the Weimar government as a slogan commending the effects of their desired policy of large-scale public works programmes to end unemployment. This use of the phrase was continued by the Nazi Party when it came to power in 1933.

About Dachau Concentration Camp
Dachau, near Munich, was the first concentration camp setup by the Nazis in 1933. The camp saw imprisonment of more than 2 lakh people from across Europe and over death of 40000 prisoners before it was liberated by US forces on 29 April 1945. The camp is now a memorial.

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