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Jewish Leaders Outraged at Dachau Gate Theft

Jewish leaders in Germany voiced outrage Monday over the

of the gate to the former Nazi concentration camp Dachau with the chilling inscription "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free").

Police said they were following leads but had no concrete information about the theft of the forged iron gate, discovered early Sunday at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial near the southern city of Munich.

"This desecration is horrible and shocking," the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, told Bild daily. "Whoever did this is either sick or evil. Probably both."

Holocaust survivor and vice president of the International Dachau Committee Max Mannheimer said he was "horrified that Nazis apparently desecrated the memorial to those murdered here and violated the reverence due to such a place."

The head of the memorial centre, Gabriele Hammermann, called the theft a "deliberate, reprehensible attempt to deny and obliterate the memory of the crimes committed in this place" which aimed "to demolish the memorial at its very core."

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Dachau last year (Photo: AP)

Police were examining whether neo-Nazis committed the crime, but were ready to follow all possible leads, said local police chief Thomas Rauscher.

The theft happened on the night of Saturday to Sunday, between the rounds of security guards watching the site which has no video surveillance system.

The head of the memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, Piotr Cywinski, called the theft "an attack against a symbol, an attack against remembrance," said a statement by the Dachau memorial.

A sign with the same inscription at Auschwitz was stolen in 2009, sparking a global outcry. The mastermind of that theft, Swedish neo-Nazi Anders Hoegstroem, was caught and jailed for two and a half years.

The metal sign was eventually recovered cut up into three pieces, leading museum officials to display a replica above the entrance until it was restored in 2011.

The letters set inside the gate at Dachau were also a replica, dating from 1965, after the original slogan was removed from the gate after the US liberation of the camp at the end of World War II.

The slogan once aimed to present the concentration camp as a "work and re-education camp."

"At the same time, these words denote the cynical attitude of the SS to the inmates, for forced labor was one of the primary means of terror in the concentration camps," the statement said.

The Dachau camp opened in 1933, less than two months after Adolf Hitler became German chancellor, as a prison camp for political prisoners.

It became a death camp during World War II, killing more than 41,000 Jews before it was liberated by US troops on April 29, 1945.

Some 800,000 visitors now visit the site each year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who

visited Dachau

last year, was due on Tuesday to accept an award from an association of Dachau survivors at an event in Berlin.

Jewish Leaders Outraged at Dachau Gate Theft 1

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CTrain Assault Victim Considers next Step After City Found Liable for Injuries
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Strasbourg Christmas Market Reopens After Attack, Death Toll Rises to Four
Strasbourg Christmas Market Reopens After Attack, Death Toll Rises to Four
The Paris prosecutor's office said today that a fourth person had died from their wounds following Tuesday's Strasbourg Christmas market shooting."The person had been fighting for their life," an official in the prosecutor's office said.The gunman, Cherif Chekatt, was killed on Thursday night after firing on police, ending a two-day manhunt that involved more than 700 members of the security forces.Earlier today,the city'spopular Christmas market was reopened,a day after French police shot dead the gunman who carried out the attack - which has been claimed by the so-calledIslamic State group.when a police patrol spotted him on a street in the district where he was last seen after .But France's interior minister has dismissed theclaim that the gunmanwas one of the"soldiers" of the Islamic State group, as investigators sought to understand his motives.The lights on the market's towering Christmas tree were lit up today for the first time since the attack."I hope life will get back to normal but I'm not too sure," said Franck Hoffmann as he opened his wooden chalet offering Christmas candles and ornaments today."Business isn't going to be what it was," he said.Questions remained over how Chekatt was able to evade the tight security perimeter set up for an event long known to be a prime target for jihadist groups.Around 500 police, security agents and soldiers are controlling access at checkpoints on the bridges leading to the river island, a UN World Heritage site, that houses the market.The goal is to "create a bubble with searches at the entry points," Mayor Roland Ries said after the attack, while regional government representative Jean-Luc Marx said he had not determined "any flaws in the security measures".Many residents, however, were not convinced after Chekatt managed to slip through the controls with a handgun and a knife."It doesn't surprise me," said Emeline, 38, who works in the city centre. "You wear a heavy coat, put something in the bottom of your bag. You can bring in what you want."France's anti-terror prosecutor Remy Heitz is to hold a press conference in Strasbourg today while Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attended the reopening of the market, which usually draws two million people every year.France has been on high alert since the start of a wave of jihadist attacks in 2015, which prompted a threefold surge in the security budget for the market, to €1m.Chekatt, a 29-year-old career criminal who lived in a rundown apartment block a short drive from the city centre, was flagged by French security forces in 2015 as a possible Islamic extremist.The propaganda wing of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, calling Chekatt one of its "soldiers".Strasbourg's deputy mayor Alain Fontanel admitted that despite patrols, plainclothes police, profilers and video surveillance, "the risks can be reduced, but not eliminated"."We can't pat down and search everyone, only carry out random checks," he said, adding that huge lines at checkpoints would only create a new potential target for terrorists."Someone who wants to get in an area this big with a weapon can do it," he said.Such reasoning was little comfort to the residents and tourists who flock to the Strasbourg market.
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