Death pits with remains of at least 29 people discovered in Warsaw

Archaeologists of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) discovered remains of at least 29 people lying in death pits in the Warsaw’s district of Białołęka, in the north of the city. IPN believes these people were murdered by Nazi Germans during the WWII occupation of Warsaw.

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“We are dealing with the remains of adults, also the remains of children. At the moment, everything indicates that we are dealing with death pits that were made during the German occupation, and these are German crimes,” the deputy head of IPN, Professor Krzysztof Szwagrzyk said. The head of the IPN Office of Search and Identification said that the mass grave in the forest in the “Skierdowskie Mountains” neighbourhood was discovered thanks to the testimony of a witness who spoke about the execution of several men at the beginning of the war in 1939 or 1940. Prof. Szwagrzyk said that the discovery of his team contradicts this testimony, but the Institute will start looking for the second death pit “right away”.

“Everything seems to indicate that we are dealing with a place where, during the war the Germans committed not only this crime, but also others. We started work on Monday, we will continue these activities for the next few days. We are dealing with a mass grave with the remains of at least 29 people - adults and children,” the deputy head of the IPN explained.

Many pieces of clothing, footwear and personal belongings were found with the victims. Professor Szwagrzyk also spoke about how the crime was most probably conducted, as indicated by the two-layer remains.

“The second layer of victims were placed on one layer. Everything indicates that these people were laid down and killed directly in this grave, afterwards, another group was brought to this place and they were killed in the same way," he explained.

The deputy head of IPN added that the commencement of works in Białołęka was preceded by two years of efforts and the preparations were accompanied by “difficulties of a different nature.”

In the opinion of Prof. Szwagrzyk, the finding of the death pit demonstrates that the events of WWII are not a closed chapter. After the search is over, IPN will seek to identify the remains of the found people.

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