After almost half a century, thousands of personal items of the victims of Auschwitz, are returning to the Memorial

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More than 16 thousand personal items belonging to the victims of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, originating from archaeological works carried out in the area of gas chamber and crematorium III in 1967, returned to the Memorial after many months of searching.

The objects found during the works are not only a remarkable testimony to the history of the camp and the extermination conducted by the Germans, but also a moving personal testimony of the victims. In most cases, these are the last personal belongings of the Jews led to death in the gas chambers upon selection at the ramp. These include among others, thermometers, empty bottles of medicines, fragments of shoes, jewellery, cutlery, watches, brushes, tobacco pipes, lighters, fragments of kitchenware, buttons, Pocketknives, keys, and many others.  

Finding traces of these objects was not easy.

‘In 1967, on the site of the former Birkenau camp Andrzej Brzozowski made a short documentary film «Archaeology», showing the process of the excavations near the ruins of the gas chamber and crematorium III. As a result of these works, which were shown in the video, a large number of original objects were found from the period of functioning of the camp. The register of the Museum Collections only shows slightly more than 400 objects from these excavations. We were convinced, however, that it had to be much more. We began the several months' investigation by verifying archival documentation’, said Elżbieta Cajzer, head of the Museum Collections.

Read entire article at Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau

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