New human remains found near Auschwitz likely of German POWs, experts say

A dozen skulls and several bones turned up near river where German prisoners held by Soviets after World War II were buried

A man crosses the rails at the former Nazi German death camp of Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016. (AP/Alik Keplicz)
A man crosses the rails at the former Nazi German death camp of Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016. (AP/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland — Polish experts say human remains uncovered this month near the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz date to after World War II, and most probably belonged to German soldiers taken prisoner by Soviet forces.

A local resident spotted 12 human skulls and many bones protruding from the banks of the Sola river that runs through the southern Polish town of Oswiecim. Nazi forces occupying Poland operated the Auschwitz camp there during the war.

After the Nazi defeat, Polish and Soviet communist authorities held German prisoners of war — as well as political prisoners — there and in the surrounding area. They were subjected to brutal treatment.

In 1946, those who died were buried in sites through which the Sola now flows, according to Poland’s state Institute of National Remembrance.

Illustrative: A long line of German soldiers marching into captivity escorted by armed guards of the Russian Army October 9, 1942. (AP)

There were similar finds of human bones in the same area last year, prompting an investigation then by the institute, which looks into Nazi and communist crimes.

Based on archives, examination and witness testimony, the institute experts concluded that the remains found both last year and this year were of post-war inmates, most probably German prisoners of war, the institute said late Wednesday.

It said that the Polish-German foundation Remembrance took care of the burial of the remains.

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