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Part of historic wrought-iron gate stolen from former Dachau concentration camp in Germany

  • FILE - In this April 24, 2009 file photo the entrance gate of the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, southern Germany, is pictured with the slogan reading "Work sets you free". Police said in a statement Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, that security officials noticed early Sunday the gate section measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) was missing. They said that whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it. (AP Photo/Christof Stache, File)

    FILE - In this April 24, 2009 file photo the entrance gate of the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, southern Germany, is pictured with the slogan reading "Work sets you free". Police said in a statement Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, that security officials noticed early Sunday the gate section measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) was missing. They said that whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it. (AP Photo/Christof Stache, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Two women walk through the main entrance of the concentration camp memorial in Dachau, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, where the wrought-iron gate  with the slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' ('work sets you free') is missing. Police said in a statement that security officials noticed early Sunday the gate section measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) was missing. They said that whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it. (AP Photo/dpa, Andreas Gebert)

    Two women walk through the main entrance of the concentration camp memorial in Dachau, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, where the wrought-iron gate with the slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' ('work sets you free') is missing. Police said in a statement that security officials noticed early Sunday the gate section measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) was missing. They said that whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it. (AP Photo/dpa, Andreas Gebert)  (The Associated Press)

Part of a wrought-iron gate bearing the Nazis' cynical slogan "Arbeit macht frei," or "Work sets you free," has been stolen from the former Dachau concentration camp, police said Sunday.

Security officials noticed early Sunday morning that the gate section measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) was missing, police said in a statement. Whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it, they added.

Police said they found nothing in the immediate vicinity of the camp and appealed for anyone who noticed any suspicious people or vehicles to come forward.

Dachau, near Munich, was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis in 1933. More than 200,000 people from across Europe were held there and over 40,000 prisoners died before it was liberated by U.S. forces on April 29, 1945. The camp is now a memorial.

Memorial director Gabriele Hammermann condemned the theft of the gate, which she described as "the central symbol for the prisoners' ordeal," news agency dpa reported.

She said a private security service supervises the site but officials had decided against surveillance of the former camp with video cameras because they didn't want to turn it into a "maximum-security unit." That decision may now have to be reviewed, she added.