Auschwitz Museum Gate - Arbeit Macht Frei - Work will set you free

Auschwitz Gate: Arbeit Macht Frei

Work will set you free, hangs above the main gate of the Auschwitz museum. Let's see from where this quote comes from and also the story of the famous  Auschwitz inscription.


Arbeit Macht Frei - Auschwitz Gate

History of the Famous Quote which means: «Work Will Set you Free».

Check also the Fountain of Tears in Oswiecim, Poland


The famous quote comes from the title of a 19th century novel by the German writer Lorenz Diefenbach. The title derives from the Gospel of John 8:32, «the Truth will set you Free». This slogan was used for propaganda purposes in a program for the reduction of mass unemployment during the economic crisis in Germany between 1920 - 1930.

After the Nazis took power, the phrase appeared in the entrances to other concentration camps and Ghettos beside Auschwitz, like the Dachau and Gross-Rosen.

auschwitz


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The Auschwitz inscription was made in 1940. The Kapo Kurt Muller designed it by drawing its characteristic shape on the ground and it was created using pipes that have been used in the expansion of the running-water network of the camp. The letters were made by the Polish prisoner Jan Liwacz.

The letter B was attached upside down and there are a few interpretations about this. (a) It was an act of resistance. (b) It was accidental. (c) This means that everything we have told you so far is the opposite.

Prisoners who walked every day beneath the inscription on their way to and back from the work were making fun of it saying: "Work will set you free through the chimney" or "Work will set you free through crematorium Number 3".


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auschwitz I gate quote


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After the liberation of Auschwitz, the Soviets soldiers loaded the inscription on a train to send it to Russia, but Eugeniusz Nosal, a former prisoner bribed a guard with a bottle of Vodka and recovered and hid the inscription.

The inscription returned to its place when the museum was set up, but in 2009, it was stolen and cut into pieces from a Swedish neo-Nazi. It was secured after 48 hours, repaired, reassembled, and conserved.

A replica of the original now hangs above Auschwitz I gate.


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Last modification: Wed 20 Apr 2022