A group of German archaeologists found about 400 artifacts from World War II after excavating three rural sites near the towns of Warstein, Suttrop, and Eversberg, LiveScience reported on Tuesday.
While exploring the sites of former Nazi camps, the researchers said that most of the 400 artifacts came from Langenbach Valley near Warstein, where LiveScience says 60 women, 10 men, and a child "were taken into the forest, under the pretense of being moved to a different labor camp, and then shot." The vast array of personal items included everything from prayer books and dictionaries to shoes, harmonicas, and Soviet coins — all believed to have been owned by and buried with the massacre's victims.
Bullet cartridges were also found scattered in the area, which could suggest that some of the Polish and Russian forced laborers tried to escape the firing squad. Nazis killed 208 laborers in the region at the end of the war, and only 14 of the victims have ever been identified by name, due to Nazi efforts to conceal their crimes.
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Matthias Löb, the director of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe — the group behind the excavation — said in a statement that despite the tragic finds, these discoveries serve as an essential reminder of the atrocities committed during that period. Löb also said Germany has seen an increase in "trivialization" and denial of Nazi crimes, and that the discovery of these artifacts are proof of a part of German history "that we have to face." Read more at LiveScience.
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