2 British teens indicted for Auschwitz-Birkenau theft
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2 British teens indicted for Auschwitz-Birkenau theft

After initially pleading guilty, 17-year-olds say they weren’t aware of cultural significance of snatched artifacts

Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

WARSAW, Poland — Two 17-year-old British boys face up to 10 years in prison for stealing items from the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum in Poland.

An indictment was filed Tuesday with the Regional Court in Krakow.

Museum guards stopped the teenagers in June while they were on a trip with the independent Perse School in Cambridge. The teens were found to have hidden in their bags fragments of a hair clipper, glass from the barracks and buttons taken from the area of the former Birkenau camp called “Canada,” where during the war stood warehouses filled with items looted from Jews.

The teens initially pleaded guilty and were levied a fine as punishment. They were allowed to return to Cambridge.

Polish prosecutors say the teens withdrew their admission of guilt, saying they were not aware that the items had special cultural significance.

The teens likely will have to appear in court to answer to the charges.

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