Shalom Life | April 03, 2014

Italian Tourist Steals Auschwitz Wire

The wire was found in a man's suitcase, who claimed he had taken it as a souvenir. He now may face three years in prison

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 1st, 2014 in News » World

Tourists normally associate the word 'souvenir' with an item serving as an embodiment of that country. For example, in Canada you'd bring back maple syrup, in Israel you'd bring back bamba, in France, some good cheap wine, etc.

But for two Italian tourists visiting Poland, they figured barbed wire would be a great way to look back at their vacation with fondness.

40-year-old Bertoldo Lori has been accused of stealing a piece of barbed wire from the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, after it was spotted in his suitcase via an x-ray machine at Krakow Airport in Poland.

Lori, alongside his wife, were stopped by border police on Sunday, March 30th at 9am as they were boarding their flight back home to Rome.

A spokesman for Polish border control, Captain Katarzyna Walczak, said, “In his luggage we found approximately 40 centimeters of rusted barbed wire wrapped in clothing.”

“He admitted that the wire had come from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, and that he had taken it to keep as a souvenir. But he insisted he had found it lying on the ground, rather than taken it from a fence,” Walczak added.

Lori and his wife were allowed to return home to Rome, but they now face a chance of being prosecuted in Poland. If convicted, Lori could face up to three years in prison.

Bartosz Bartyzel, who works for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, said the theft of the barbed wire was a “desecration.”

“Every item within the camp, whether it be a nut, screw, bolt or piece of wire is of cultural value and is part of the story here,” he added.

Perhaps the two will think harder next time they decide to steal a piece with much historical significance as a 'souvenir' next time they go travelling.

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