Eerie message alluding to Auschwitz is fastened to overpass of abandoned Packard Plant

Packard Sign

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Motorists driving past the Packard Plant were greeted this morning with the same chilling words that were placed at the entrances of numerous concentration camps – “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

The phrase, translated to “Work Will Make You Free,” was made infamous as the message that greeted Jews as they were ushered into the gates of Auschwitz for an almost certain death.

Whoever is behind the signs took care to imitate the font of the one at Auschwitz, where 1.3 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.

A quick glimpse from inside the Packard showed that each letter is fashioned on a durable piece of plastic that is strongly secured to the overpass with about 80 sturdy ties.

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Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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  • Gavi

    I have to ponder why this message, on this abandoned Detroit factory, and what it could mean. There is a message here, and I am intrigued. I have a feeling, and I could be way off base here, but I don’t think that this was meant in any sense to be Ant-Jewish. I have a feeling that the person to did this is making a statement about Detroit and its current state. Could it be a statement on labor, economics, race, abandonment, politics? Perhaps all? Perhaps I just want to believe that there might be a greater purpose than to just shock and offend.

  • bebow

    I am wondering what motivated the individual(s) involved to invest so much time and effort in creating this shocking display. More than one possible motivation comes to mind, not all necessarily rooted in hate. Hopefully, we will find out. In what other city could something like this happen without law enforcement intervention?

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  • I think he means font.

  • What is meant by “letter stylings”? I don’t understand.

    • Steve Neavling

      The font.