WARSAW (Reuters) – An Israeli couple ha ve been given suspended jail sentences for the theft of historic artefacts from the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, Poland’s PAP news agency quoted a prosecutor as saying yesterday.
“They have voluntarily accepted a two-year suspended jail sentence and agreed to pay a mandatory contribution towards the preservation of monuments,” Deputy District Prosecutor Mariusz Slomka said, without specifying the amount.
After all formalities are dealt with, the 60-year-old man and his 57-year-old wife will be free to leave Poland, he said.
The couple had been charged earlier on Saturday with the theft of mementoes of particular cultural importance, an offence that carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
They spent Friday night in jail after border guards at Krakow airport caught them trying to take several Auschwitz artefacts out of the country, Slomka told PAP.
Krakow police spokesman Darius Nowak said the couple took nine items including spoons, knives, scissors and porcelain bottle stoppers they had found in a storage room of prisoner belongings during a visit to Auschwitz, now a museum.
It was the third such incident this year at the site in southern Poland, Nowak said.
Auschwitz, a network of extermination camps near Krakow, was the centrepiece of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution” for Jews.
An estimated 1.1 million people, mostly Jews from Poland and elsewhere in Europe, perished at Auschwitz during World War Two.