15:13 GMT06 March 2021
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    Two Hungarians tourists were recently handed suspended one-year jail sentences after attempting to steal bricks from a crematorium at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp in Poland.

    The tourists were detained by police after other visitors at Auschwitz in Oświęcim, Poland, noticed the pair placing bricks from the ruins into a bag. The police arrived on the scene shortly after security officers were alerted to the situation. 

    According to local police, the pair wanted to take home a "souvenir."

    "The man and woman were charged with theft of a cultural asset. They both admitted to wrongdoing," regional police spokesperson Mateusz Drwal told Polish news agency PAP Monday.

    "They explained that they had wanted to bring back a souvenir and didn't realize the consequences of their actions," Drwal added.

    The 30-year-old woman and 36-year-old man were each fined $405 and given a one-year suspended jail sentence. Under a suspended sentence, a judge delays a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty. Instead, the defendant is placed on probation. If the defendant does not break the law during the probation period, the judge usually dismisses the sentence, but if they do, then they get locked up. 

    This is not the first time that tourists have attempted to steal artifacts from Auschwitz. In 2015, two boys from the UK were sentenced to one year of probation after admitting to stealing artifacts that once belonged to the camp's prisoners, including a comb, spoons, buttons and pieces of glass.

    Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, is one of the death camps built and operated by Nazi Germany in Poland during World War II. Around 1 million Jewish people were murdered on its premises between 1940 and 1945, along with other people the Nazi state considered political and social undesirables, including Romani people, Slavs and gay people.


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    tourists, death camp, Nazi Germany, Auschwitz, Poland
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