ADL Condemns Auschwitz Message at Historic Former Packard Plant in Detroit

Detroit, MI, February 5, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed outrage that windows at the former Packard Plant in Detroit were emblazoned with the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes Free), the infamous work slogan used by the Nazi tormentors at the concentration camp Auschwitz to taunt and dehumanize prisoners. 

The letters of the Nazi slogan were apparently written out on poster board and displayed in windows across a covered bridge over a roadway at the historic former automotive plant, which is no longer in use.

Heidi Budaj, ADL Detroit Regional Director, issued the following statement:

The prominent display of this quote at a historic Detroit landmark is disturbing and deeply offensive to victims of the Holocaust and to those who fought valiantly in World War II. 

The fact the perpetrators inverted the letter B, in a copy of the distinct lettering in the original sign at Auschwitz, is especially chilling and shows that this was an intentional and malicious act.

This message strikes at the very memory of a symbol representing the cruel cynicism of Nazism. This sign greeted more than one million prisoners as they were herded into the Auschwitz nightmare with the duplicitous message that “work sets you free.” 

We hope that the signs will be removed as quickly as possible.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.