There was moral outrage and worldwide condemnation of the two public schoolboys who ‘took’ artefacts from the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
I’m all for people facing stringent punishments if it fits the bill, but people were really going overboard on this one.
They didn’t even smuggle out the items, they just picked them up off the ground. It’s hardly the stuff of Ocean’s Eleven
Some were calling for them to get ‘20 years’ or to lock them up and ‘throw away the key’. Get a grip people! Paedophiles and rapists don’t even get those kinds of sentences.
It was a comb, spoons, buttons and pieces of glass from block 5, where Nazi guards stored prisoners’ confiscated belongings during the war.
Yes, each artefact has a story to tell, but it’s hardly comparable to the Swede who was given a £2,000 fine and two-and-a-half years in prison for orchestrating the theft of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free) sign from the camp gates back in 2010.
They were given a £2,000 fine and two-and-a-half years in prison.
Fair enough, you can’t argue with that. He didn’t just happen upon the gate with a disc cutter and a ladder. It was a premeditated theft from a culturally significant site.
These lads in the recent incident were young and they did something thoughtless and stupid on a school trip.
It’s not as if they’ve waited until the dead of night, tiptoed past the teacher’s room and then shimmied out of a dorm window and headed over to Auschwitz with a head torch and shovel.
They didn’t even smuggle out the items, they just picked them up off the ground. It’s hardly the stuff of Ocean’s Eleven.
Of course you’d like to think they picked them up purely out of curiosity. But then the cynical part of you wonders whether they would have ended up on eBay.
On the whole I think the suspended year’s probation and £170 fine each is probably quite sufficient.
On a slightly different subject, I was surprised to find that Auschwitz has a souvenir shop that sells postcards.
What are you supposed to do with them? Write ‘best wishes from Auschwitz, wish you were here’? If you ask me, it cheapens the whole experience.