German teacher caught smuggling inmates’ possessions from Auschwitz

Marcy Oster

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A teacher from Germany was arrested at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz after being caught with items that belonged to victims of the Holocaust.

The 47-year-old teacher on Tuesday admitted to taking the items from an area where the death camp inmates’ possessions had been stored during World War II. He said he wanted to show the items to his students, who are studying the Holocaust.

He could have faced up to ten years in prison for stealing goods of special cultural importance. He accepted voluntary submission to penalty and was levied a suspended jail sentence and a fine.

The man’s bag held ten items, including a fork, a fragment of scissors and pieces of pottery, gathered from an area where warehouses once stood and was called “Canada,” by the inmates. At the end of the war they were set on fire by the Nazis.