The main gate of Auschwitz I concentration camp reads “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” (work makes you free) and was made in metal by camp prisoners who risked punishment or worse by placing a hidden message in the word “ARBEIT” (work). The letter ‘B’ was made upside down. This act of resistance was never discovered.
A survivor named Tadeusz Szymanski told of a conversation he had some years after the liberation with another survivor who had been forced to work in locksmith’s workshop at the camp, who told him that when the SS ordered the workers to weld the sign together, they had deliberately placed the ‘B’ in the word ‘Arbeit’ upside down.
Today this inverted ‘B’ has become a symbol of the horrors endured under Nazi insanity. Based on an idea by Michele Deodat from France, the inverted ‘B’ has been transformed into a sculpture of remembrance for the International Auschwitz Committee.
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