• Germany's news in English
Last belongings of Auschwitz victims found after decades
The former Auschwitz death camp, now a museum. Photo: DPA.

Last belongings of Auschwitz victims found after decades

AFP · 8 Jun 2016, 09:36

Published: 08 Jun 2016 09:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2016 09:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"In most cases, these are the last personal belongings of the Jews led to death in the gas chambers upon selection at the ramp," the museum said in a statement.

"These include, among others, thermometers, empty bottles of medicine, fragments of shoes, jewellery, cutlery, watches, brushes, tobacco pipes, lighters."

Archaeologists first dug up the items in 1967 from the ruins of what had been a crematorium and gas chamber at the former Second World War death camp set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.

The items were then stored in 48 cardboard boxes in a building at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, only to collect dust for decades until the museum tracked them down after several months of searching.

"I can only try to imagine why the lost objects were deposited in these boxes just after digging up... Presumably, they were supposed to be analysed and studied," museum Piotr Cywinski said in the statement.

But "a few months later, there was a political turnabout in 1968 and the communist authority took a clearly anti-Semitic course," he added.

"Perhaps that is why they did not hurry with the implementation and closure of this project. The times then were difficult for topics related to the Holocaust."

Earlier this month the items arrived back at the museum in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim.

Story continues below…

A record 1.72 million people visited the site in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by the Soviets.

One million European Jews died there between 1940 and 1945.

More than 100,000 other people including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters also died at the camp, according to the museum.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd