Police in Bergen said they planned to send the heavy iron gate that was stolen three years ago from the concentration camp Dachau back to authorities in Germany “as soon as possible.” They found the gate in their area just before the weekend, after responding to a tip.
The recovery of the gate, emblazoned with the words Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free) generated headlines worldwide throughout the weekend. “We know that the gate is an important monument from the war for Germany, so it’s good that it’s been found,” Kari Trones, a prosecutor for the Bergen police, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
“Based on a tip that came in to the police, the gate was found at Gaupås in Arna (a district of Bergen on Norway’s west coast),” Trones said. No one had been arrested at the time of the discovery, she said, which would be investigated by the Bergen police. She stressed that police in Germany remain responsible for the investigation into the actual theft at the camp, where tens of thousands of people were imprisoned and killed between 1933 and 1945.
Margrethe Myrmehl Gudbrandsen of the Vest Police District told NRK that the gate was in “OK condition” and would “be delivered to German authorities as soon as possible.” Dachau, located just outside Munich, was one of the first concentration camps to be operated by Hitler’s Nazi regime.
It remained unclear how the large gate weighing around 100 kilos wound up in Norway after disappearing during the night of November 1, 2013. German news bureau DPA has reported that two suspicious men were observed in the area that night and had asked for directions to Dachau. One of them, a witness reportedly told police, spoke German with a Scandinavian accent.