Ex-Nazi: ‘I was Auschwitz sign middleman’

A Swede suspected of involvement in the theft of the "Arbeit Macht Free" sign from Auschwitz has spoken out about his role in the raid on the former Nazi death camp.

Ex-Nazi: 'I was Auschwitz sign middleman'

“My role was to go get the sign in Poland. I was the middleman and was

supposed to take care of the sale,” the man, a former neo-Nazi whose name was not disclosed, told Swedish daily Expressen.

The paper referred to the man only as “a former Nazi leader.”

The Polish daily Fakt identified the man as Anders Högström, who in 1994 founded the National Socialist Front, a Swedish neo-Nazi movement he headed for five years before quitting.

Another Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, referred in its article to “Anders H.”

After leaving his party, Högström, 33, claimed he distanced himself from the movement and joined an association called Exit which helps youths quit far-right movements, according to Swedish media.

Polish prosecutors said on Wednesday they wanted to question three Swedish

residents over the December 18th theft of the death camp sign, without revealing

their names.

Five Poles have already been arrested.

The men are charged with theft and damage and face up to 10 years in prison.

According to Expressen, the “former Nazi leader” claimed the sign was to be sold for several million kronor (hundreds of thousands of dollars) which was to be used to finance bombings against the Swedish parliament and government.

“But that was not something I wanted to be involved in or carry out, in any way,” he told the paper.

“I contacted the police immediately, as soon as the sign was stolen, and gave them all the information I had. I haven’t committed any crime. I was the one who saw to it that the sign was found,” he added.

Police recovered the five-metre metal sign — which means “Work Will Set You Free” in German — on December 20th in northern Poland and arrested the five Polish men. The sign had been cut into three pieces.

The sign above Auschwitz’s gateway has long symbolised the horror of the camp, created by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland in 1940 and in operation until Soviet troops liberated it in 1945.

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Austrian rapper arrested over neo-Nazi songs

Austrian authorities said Tuesday they have arrested a rapper accused of broadcasting neo-Nazi songs, one of which was used by the man behind a deadly anti-Semitic attack in Germany.

Austrian rapper arrested over neo-Nazi songs
Austrian police officers patrol at the house where Adolf Hitler was born during the anti-Nazi protest in Braunau Am Inn, Austria on April 18, 2015. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

“The suspect has been arrested on orders of the Vienna prosecutors” and transferred to prison after a search of his home, said an interior ministry statement.

Police seized a mixing desk, hard discs, weapons, a military flag from the Third Reich era and other Nazi objects during their search.

Austrian intelligence officers had been trying for months to unmask the rapper, who went by the pseudonym Mr Bond and had been posting to neo-Nazi forums since 2016.

The suspect, who comes from the southern region of Carinthia, has been detained for allegedly producing and broadcasting Nazi ideas and incitement to hatred.

“The words of his songs glorify National Socialism (Nazism) and are anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic,” said the interior ministry statement.

One of his tracks was used as the sound track during the October 2019 attack outside a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

In posts to online forums based in the United States, the rapper compared the man behind the 2019 Christchurch shootings that killed 51 people at a New Zealand mosque to a saint, and translated his racist manifesto into German.

Last September, an investigation by Austrian daily Der Standard and Germany's public broadcaster ARD said that the musician had been calling on members of neo-Nazi online forums and chat groups to carry out terrorist attacks for several years.

They also reported that his music was used as the soundtrack to the live-streamed attack in Halle, when a man shot dead two people after a failed attempt to storm the synagogue.

During his trial last year for the attack, 28-year-old Stephan Balliet said he had picked the music as a “commentary on the act”. In December, a German court jailed him for life.

“The fight against far-right extremism is our historical responsibility,” Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said Tuesday.

Promoting Nazi ideology is a criminal offence in Austria, which was the birth place of Adolph Hitler.