The words Arbeit Macht Frei, 'work makes [you] free', appeared at the entrance to many Nazi concentration camps. This sign was placed at the entrance of Auschwitz by the first commandant of the camp, Rudolf Hoss.
Hoss attributed his survival in a prison camp during World War I to the menial labors that he performed, and for this reason he adopted this motto for the camp's gate. But work could only bring freedom to the Nazis' victims through death, either from disease, starvation, execution, or exhaustion. The terrible irony of this sign made it one of the most horrific symbols of the atrocities committed by the Nazis.