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Poland opens probe into mass burial site found near Auschwitz

Local resident spots some 12 human skulls and multiple bones in bank of river running through nearby town of Oswiecim; prosecutors investigating if remains are linked to death camp

The railway tracks from where hundreds of thousands of people were directed to the gas chambers to be murdered inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II, in Oswiecim, Poland, on December 7, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP/File)
The railway tracks from where hundreds of thousands of people were directed to the gas chambers to be murdered inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II, in Oswiecim, Poland, on December 7, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP/File)

WARSAW, Poland — Polish prosecutors are investigating an apparent mass burial site revealed this month near the area of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz.

A local resident spotted some 12 human skulls and many bones in the bank of the Sola river, running through the Polish southern town of Oswiecim, when the water level was very low, the Onet portal said Friday.

Police and prosecutors are investigating whether the remains might have a link to the former death camp and the state National Remembrance Institute, which investigates World War II and communist-era crimes, has been notified.

The press office of the Auschwitz Museum said Friday it was aware of the find, and of others before it, but that the area is outside the museum’s perimeter and administrative authority.

File — Cars pass over a bridge over the river Sola near in Zasole Bielanskie, in southern Poland, on May 17, 2010 (AP Photo/Jarek Praszkiewiczi)

Any further steps depend on the findings from the investigation.

During World War II, from 1940-45, over 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz.

The vast majority of victims were Europe’s Jews but Poles, Gypsies, Russian soldiers and German political prisoners were also killed at the camp. Most — but not all — bodies were incinerated in the camp’s crematoria.

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