Between 1939 and 1945, German death squads were responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the outskirts of the town of Chojnice in northern Poland. So many people were killed by German soldiers in this small area which covered 1.5 kilometres that it has been dubbed ‘Death Valley’.
Now, researchers excavating the site have discovered the remains of people who were burned after they were executed, as well as fragments of bullets which were used to slay the innocent people.
The team also discovered personal belongings which were on the executed as they were tragically put to death.
Items discovered include a wristwatch, a woman’s broach and even a spoon and plate.
Dr Dawid Kobialka, from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences who made the gruesome discovery told TFN: “The bones and the bullets are related to the massacre from the second half of January 1945.
“According to historical records, the crime was committed by the Gestapo and members of the German police.
“The bullets and shells came from the Walther PPK and P08 Parabellum pistols, suggesting the victims were executed at close range.
“We found fragments of skulls, teeth, femurs, a thoracic vertebra, among others.
“The bones lie one centimetre or two just below the ground. It was enough to put a shovel in the ground once to see the remains. There were more burnt human bones than sand.
“Most of the bones are actually ashes because of the temperature of the cremations. That is why the gasoline was used.
“There were several columns of people and they went in different directions.
“One of them was herded to Chojnice and murdered in Death Valley.
“The townspeople saw a glow of light at night on the outskirts of the city in the Valley of Death, and a terrible smell of burning went over the city.
“The most probable version of events is that they were Gestapo prisoners from the prison in Bydgoszcz.
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“There, among others, were detained members of the Polish resistance who were captured at the turn of 1944-1945.”
Eyewitnesses who have survived to this day have told of the atrocities committed at the site.
Kazimierz Janikowski, who is now 88 but was 13 at the time, said: “We were going there [to Death Valley] because we were curious about what was happening.
“I was searching there and found [burned human] bones.
“I still see those 200-litre gasoline barrels. There was stench over town when the bodies were burned.”
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