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2 British Teens Admit Stealing Objects from Auschwitz

FILE - Auschwitz survivor Miroslaw Celka walks out the gate with the sign saying "Work makes you free" after paying tribute to fallen comrades in the former Auschwitz camp in Oswiecim, Poland, January 27, 2015.

Two British teenagers pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of stealing artifacts from the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland.

Polish authorities said the teens, who were on a class trip, were caught with pieces of glass and metal, buttons, and part of an old hair-cutting device they apparently had dug out of the ground.

Officials said the boys were freed from police custody but were apparently trying to work out a deal with Polish prosecutors to avoid a prison term of up to 10 years.

A spokesman for the boys' school said they were deeply sorry.

Polish authorities have handed down stiff fines and prison time to visitors who try to smuggle objects out of the Auschwitz site.

In the most serious case, a Swedish man was sentenced for his part in a scheme to steal the notorious metal "Work Makes You Free" sign that prisoners saw upon arriving at the death camp during World War II.

Poland's Nazi occupiers murdered more than 1 million Jews and thousands of prisoners of war, Poles, Gypsies and other minorities at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.