Two 17-year-old British boys were arrested after they were caught stealing historical artifacts from Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp that where millions of people were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The boys, identified as Marcus Dell and Ben Thompson, were caught with pieces of glass, part of a razor, a comb, and some buttons in their pockets.
The students were on a school trip to Poland to learn about the Holocaust—both boys study at Cambridge’s Perse School.
According to a report from the Daily Telegraph, guards at the historic camp caught Dell and Thompson digging around in the ground near Block 5. That area of the camp had been a warehouse where personal items of the prisoners were confiscated and stored.
Polish authorities confirmed it is illegal to remove historical items, and doing so could lead to heavy fins and legal actions.
Dell and Thompson were put on a suspended sentence, and reportedly extensively apologized for their actions.
Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:
“Every single artifact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells a story of the more than a million people who were ruthlessly murdered by the Nazis there, and this incident serves to show why our work is crucial now more than ever.
We have a duty to educate the next generation to prevent ignorance and hate, and in over 15 years of organizing for thousands of British teenagers to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, we have never kwown of such an incident.”
According to a spokesperson from the boys’ school, administration is looking into the incident while it considers future disciplinary measures. The boy could face expulsion from the school.