Holocaust-era bones found near Stuttgart won't undergo DNA tests

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Genetic testing will not be performed on the bones of Jewish inmates discovered in a Holocaust-era mass grave during construction on a U.S. military camp near Stuttgart, according to a decision by Ulrich Goll, justice minister of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

On completion of the police investigation, the remains will be transferred to the Jewish community of Stuttgart for burial.

The Israel Police, which had initially been asked to assist the Germans in identifying the remains, announced on Tuesday following Goll's decision that the search for relatives of the inmates, from whom DNA samples were to have been taken to try to identify the remains, was called off.

Goll's decision was made in response to requests by Jewish organizations to bury the remains without conducting the tests to avoid desecration of the dead. The spokesman for the Baden-Wurttemberg Justice Ministry, Stefan Wirz, told Haaretz that the Rabbinic Center of Europe (RCE), an umbrella organization headquartered in Brussels, had requested the genetic testing not be performed.

"The request by the rabbis was one consideration in the minister's decision not to perform the tests, but the main consideration was that the purpose of the investigation was to discover the identity of the murderer and the means of the murder, not the identity of the victims."

Wirz said the investigation was now seeking eye-witnesses who knew the commander of the camp near the murder site.

Construction workers digging at the site in September discovered skeletons and quickly called local police, who found the remains of 34 bodies during their search. German police determined that the mass grave probably dated back to World War II.

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