Stolen Gate with the Inscription “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) from Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site Now Found in Norway

The historic gate stolen from Dachau Concentration Camp by unknown persons during the night of November 1 to 2, 2014 has now been recovered by police in Bergen, Norway. The theft two years ago was the first and most serious raid on the historic set of buildings in the history of the memorial site. The act of desecration had targeted the camp gate located in the entrance building, or “Jourhaus”: a key symbol of the great suffering the camp prisoners were forced to endure.

The President of the Comité International de Dachau, General Jean-Michel Thomas, took note of this news with great satisfaction, stating, “Even though we still do not know what was behind this outrage, I offer thanks in the name of the survivors’ association for the discovery of this crime and the international concern that was shown following its perpetration.”  

Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, Director of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, was also very relieved and offered thanks to the police in Norway and Germany for their meticulous investigations. “Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, along with the survivors and their relatives, is delighted that the background to this act is now being cleared up and that this particularly symbolic relict of the concentration camp will once again be returned to the memorial following a judicial review. Of course, it will be presented to the public again once the restoration work is completed. A decision will be made together with the Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten (Bavarian Memorial Foundation) regarding the placement of the gate, whether at its former location or as part of the permanent exhibition.”

The Director of the Bavarian Memorial Foundation, Karl Freller, was overjoyed at this news, and responded by saying, “It is a great relief to me that this piece of original evidence of the Nazis’ cynicism and contempt for humankind has been recovered. I congratulate the security authorities on their transnational success.“

 

Introduction


Le 22 mars 1933, quelques semaines après l´élection d´Adolf Hitler à la chancellerie, un camp de concentration pour prisonniers politiques fut établi à Dachau. Il servit de modèle aux camps de concentration construits ultérieurement et d´« école de la violence » pour les officiers SS, sous la direction desquels il était placé. Pendant douze ans, plus de 200.000 personnes ont été internées dans le camp principal ou dans l´une de ses commandos extérieurs. 41 500 personnes y furent assassinées. Le 29 avril 1945 les troupes américaines libérèrent les détenus survivants.

A l´initiative des détenus survivants, le mémorial du camp de concentration fut édifié en 1965 avec le soutien du gouvernement de Bavière d´après les plans des anciens détenus, qui se sont réunis au sein du Comité international de Dachau. Entre 1999 et 2003,  une nouvelle exposition a été conçue. Présentant l´histoire du camp de concentration de Dachau,  elle s´organise autour du leitmotiv : «  Le chemin du détenu ».