The Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has discovered harrowing new evidence of a mass grave nearby a World War 2 Nazi concentration camp, with ash believed to be made up of the remains of as many as 8,000 people.
It continues to build on the evidence that Nazis desperately tried to hide the remnants of atrocities committed in Poland and neighboring countries.
The findings were announced in a recent press hearing by IPN President Karol Nawrocki and Tomasz Jankowski, the head of the Branch Commission of Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation in Gdańsk.
“The Germans decided to avoid the responsibility for the crimes they had committed. In the spring of 1944, the bodies of people buried here were excavated and incinerated. The unburned remains were ground, so that the crime would not see the light of day and no one could be held responsible. The cover-up has failed because the IPN is determined to search for the victims and heroes of WW2 and will never allow even one of them to be forgotten,” said Nawrocki in a statement.
Weighing around 15.8 tonnes, a huge amount of human ash was unearthed near the Soldau concentration camp in north-eastern Poland. The camp was designated as a "transit camp", in which Jewish and Polish intelligentsia were held until deportation to labor camps – though this was merely a veil. Instead, the camp was used to eradicate educated Polish people.
“In the Soldau camp died the victims of the Intelligenzaktion, i.e. the German extermination action which aimed to eliminate Polish state elites,” said Karol Nawrocki.
There were various methods of body disposal during the Holocaust atrocities, with captured POWs infamously forced to incinerate the remains of executed fellow POWs in Auschwitz. According to the conference, the bodies from the Soldau camp were originally buried in mass graves, before Nazis ordered captured Jewish people to dig up the bodies and incinerate them to cover the crimes. Historical estimates suggest between 10,000–13,000 innocent people were killed in Soldau before it was taken over by Soviet forces in 1945 and eventually liquidated at the end of the year.
Samples will now be taken from the ash and tested in a laboratory for DNA analysis in hopes of identifying some of the victims, reports AFP News.