Ashes of at least 8,000 people murdered by Nazis found in Bialuty forest north of Polish capital Warsaw
Two mass graves containing the ashes of at least 8,000 Poles murdered by the Nazis during World War II have been discovered in a forest north of Warsaw.
- The remains mainly belong to inmates of the Soldau prison camp
- They were executed between 1940 and 1944, then their bodies were dug up and burned in an attempt to hide the crime.
- The exact location of the graves was not known until now
Special investigators in Poland said at least 17 tons of human ashes had been found.
The victims were mostly inmates of the German Soldau concentration camp in the Polish town of Dzialdowo who were executed in the forest between 1940 and 1944, experts said.
In March 1944 the bodies were dug up, burned, and trees were planted over the burial pits in an attempt to hide the atrocity.
Investigators from the National Remembrance Institute marked the discovery this week with speeches and wreath laying at the Bialuty Forest site, 160 kilometers north of the Polish capital.
The institute’s Karol Nawrocki said the bodies were ‘taken out, burned and pulverized so that this crime will never be known, in order to prevent anyone from taking responsibility for it’.
“These efforts have not been successful,” he said.
The Nazis used other inmates, mostly Jews, to do the cover-up work. These detainees were also killed.
Institute experts said the ashes were found in two pits, each 3 meters deep.
Around 30,000 people, mostly Polish political prisoners, soldiers, resistance fighters and Jews were held in the camp and many of them were killed or died in the Nazi extermination plan.
The forest was already known to be the place of burials, but the exact location of the mass graves and the number of victims were not known until now.
Archaeologists and anthropologists located the two mass graves this month.
The institute investigates Nazi crimes as well as Communist crimes against Poles and has the power to prosecute suspects if they are still alive.