Archaeologists uncover buried gas chambers at Sobibor death camp

Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:58pm EDT
 
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By Kacper Pempel

SOBIBOR Poland (Reuters) - Archaeologists working at the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Sobibor, in eastern Poland, say they have uncovered previously-hidden gas chambers in which an estimated quarter of a million Jews were killed.

German forces tried to erase all traces of the camp when they closed it down following an uprising there on Oct. 14, 1943. The Nazis demolished the gas chambers and an asphalt road was later built over the top.

Archaeologists excavated beneath the road and found lines of bricks, laid four deep, where they believe the walls of the gas chambers used to stand.

They have been able to establish how big the chambers were, information they said would help build up a more precise picture of how many people were murdered at the camp.

"Finally, we have reached our goal -- the discovery of the gas chambers. We were amazed at the size of the building and the well-preserved condition of the chamber walls," said Yoram Haimi, one of the archaeologists.

Haimi said two of his own uncles, who had been living in Paris during the war and were rounded up by the Germans, were among those who were killed at Sobibor.

The archaeologists said among the personal items they had come across buried in the ground near the gas chambers was a wedding ring which carried the inscription, in Hebrew: "Behold, you are consecrated unto me."

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Archeologist and historian Anna Zalewska digs inside the perimeter of a Nazi death camp in Sobibor September 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Kacper Pempel