Sunday, 26 June 2011

'We wanted a souvenir from Auschwitz'

Israeli couple who stole items from Nazi death camp tells Polish judge they come from family of Holocaust survivors, did not want artifacts to become rusty

An Israeli man, 60, charged with stealing historical artifacts from Auschwitz said that he came from a family of Holocaust survivors and that he and his wife did not want the items to wear out in the museum.

"We did not want the items to become rusty and be trampled over by the slew of visitors so we took them as mementos," he told a local judge.

The two were arrested on Saturday at the Krakow airport for the theft of historic artifacts and were sentenced to two years probation. They left Poland on Sunday. The man is a senior official in a local council in Israel.

A Polish judge imposed a fine amounting to NIS 5,000 per person on the couple. It is the smallest fine in the Polish law book.

The couple asked Israel's consul in Poland for money in order to pay the fine claiming they did not have the necessary funds.

Surprised by the request, the consul approached the Foreign Ministry for instructions and was told it was not customary to provide Israelis abroad with money for such purposes.

The couple explained this to the Polish attorney general who allowed them to pay part of the fine on the spot and provide the rest at a later time.

'We wanted a souvenir'


Holocaust exhibition repeatedly stolen in Romania


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