WARSAW, Poland — Police said early Monday that they have found the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that was stolen on Friday from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.
Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo told reporters that the sign was found in northern Poland. She said that they have also detained five men aged between 25 and 39 who are being transported to Krakow for questioning.
Another spokesman, Dariusz Nowak, said the sign was cut into three pieces, each containing one of the words.
He said the police were planning a news conference in Krakow at 0800 GMT (3 a.m. EST) Monday.
The police refused to release any details of the circumstances in which the sign was found or to begin to hypothesize on the motive of the perpetrators.
Krakow police are in charge of the investigation because they are the regional command for the area including the Auschwitz museum.
The sign that topped a main gate at the Auschwitz memorial site was stolen before dawn on Friday. State authorities made finding it a priority and appealed to all Poles for assistance.
More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, but also Gypsies,Poles and others, died in the gas chambers or from starvation and disease while performing forced labor at Auschwitz which Nazi Germany built in occupied Poland during World War II.
The camp, which became the world's largest Jewish cemetery, was liberated by the Soviet troops on Jan.27, 1945.
The museum is preparing for very solemn observance of the 65th anniversary of liberation.