An excavation carried out at the site of the former Nazi extermination camp of Soldau, near the Polish city of Dzialdowo (north) has found 17 tons of ashes which, according to researchers, indicate that at least 8,000 people were cremated in that place.

The number of victims has been calculated according to the weight of the ashes, explained Karol Nawrocki, president of the Institute of Historical Memory (IPN), since a human corpse corresponds to approximately two kilos of ashes. At a press conference in Gdansk, in the north of the country, he added that the finding is part of “a terrible crime against the Polish nation.”

“The victims were killed as part of the German anti-Polish extermination plan, which sought to deprive the country of state elites, diplomats and priests,” Nawrocki said. The IPN, the body that oversees historical and archaeological research in Poland, has indicated in a statement that the remains of those executed in Soldau were probably exhumed in the spring of 1944 and burned so that “this crime would not see the light of day and no one could be held liable.”

This purpose failed, however, “because the IPN is determined to find each and every one of the victims and heroes of World War II.” For his part, the chief prosecutor of the IPN, Tomasz Jankowski, has indicated that two large mass graves were discovered during the excavation, 28 and 12 meters long respectively, and about three meters deep, but it is believed that in the nearby forests More graves could be found.

Technicians from the University of Szczecin will soon join the investigation to establish the magnitude of the finding as accurately as possible and try to reconstruct the tragic circumstances that surround it. The Nazi Soldau extermination camp was built in September 1939 in Dzialdowo and thousands of Poles fighting in the resistance, as well as Jewish citizens, were executed there.

The IPN, created in Poland in 1998, has as its main mission to investigate and disseminate the events that occurred in the Second World War in Poland, a country that lost the largest proportion of people in relation to its population, 17%.

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