WARSAW, Poland - The notorious sign that once spanned the main gate at Auschwitz will not return to its original spot after recently being repaired from the damage it suffered during a 2009 theft, an international council that oversees Auschwitz-Birkenau decided Thursday.
The sign bearing the Nazis' cynical slogan Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) will instead be housed in a planned exhibition hall, said Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the memorial site.
Sawicki said the proposal to house the sign in a secure indoor center came from Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz memorial museum. No objections to that proposal were made by the 25-member International Auschwitz Council - made up of Holocaust survivors, historians, and others - at a two-day meeting that ended Thursday.
Experts say the sign is best preserved in stable humidity and temperatures ranging from about 63 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit - conditions that require it to be indoors, a statement issued after the council meeting said.
The exhibition hall is under development and is expected to open in the coming years. It will be located at the site of the death camp that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.
The sign was stolen in December 2009. Police found it in less than three days after a countrywide search, but by then it had been cut into several pieces - damage that took many months to repair.
A reproduction of the sign now hangs in its place.