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Chojnice. In the Valley of Death they discovered a previously unknown mass grave

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In the Valley of Death in Chojnice, investigators and researchers discovered a previously unknown, unmarked mass grave of Poles murdered in the fall of 1939 by German formations – announced on Monday the president of the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr. Karol Nawrocki, and the director of the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, Prosecutor Andrzej Pozorski.

– We determined the course of the several hundred-meter long military tranche and conducted preliminary research. Already at this stage, we have discovered remains from several people. We also disclosed and secured 7.62 nine-millimeter bullets and shell casings, which came from weapons commonly used by German formations, said the deputy prosecutor general, Director, at a press conference. GKŚZpNP attorney Pozorski.

He noted that there were bullets under the human remains, which proves that “shots were fired at the victims who were at the bottom of the tranche, most likely from the edge.”

Objects related to the victims were also found and secured in the mass grave. “These include a toothbrush, a razor, buttons, and pieces of clothing,” the prosecutor said.

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READ: His watch stopped when shots were fired. This could be the hour of death for hundreds of people.

IPN investigation into the Pomeranian crime

He said that a previously unknown, unmarked mass grave was discovered in the Death Valley in Chojnice (Pomeranian Voivodeship) in September as part of an investigation into the Pomeranian crime conducted by the branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Gdańsk with the participation of anthropology experts from the Institute of Anthropology of the University of Lodz.

Proc. Pozorski emphasized that the activities carried out by investigators were preceded by “a number of archival inquiries, aerial photos were examined, and surface research was carried out.” All this to mark out the field fortifications of the Polish Army, which were built in the summer of 1939 in the event of the outbreak of war, and which Germany they later used it to implement their plan to exterminate the Polish civilian population. – This is where mass executions were carried out, victims were buried, and the area was leveled only to erase the traces of criminal activities – noted the deputy prosecutor general.

The devil burns gold there – parents told their children. The truth about Death Valley was too nightmarish >>>

He emphasized that the investigation involves examining another 180-meter section of the tranche and securing the remains that will be found. – We want to conduct genetic tests. We believe that we will partially succeed in identifying the victims and, consequently, Institute of National Remembrance will take part in the dignified burial of Poles who were victims of the criminal activities of the German occupier – said Prosecutor Pozorski.

He added that as part of the investigation, prosecutors have already selected other places where they will conduct similar research to determine the location of mass graves.

Murdered by German neighbors

President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Ph.D Karol Nawrocki he recalled that “the Pomeranian crime was the death of approximately 30,000 Poles, representatives of the Polish elite, teachers, their students, Polish officials, but also disabled people.”

He noted that they were murdered in the fall of 1939 by their own neighbors. – By their German neighbors who operated in the Selbstschutz organization and were supported by Einsatzgruppen special units – he added

Dr. Nawrocki emphasized that “the Chojnice land is full of places of memory of German victims from the autumn of 1939, but the Igielskie Fields (…) are special, two mass crimes were committed in this place, one in the autumn of 1939, the other at the very beginning in 1945 “. He added that the Institute of National Remembrance is still looking for the victims of the Pomeranian crime. The latest discovery is the remains of a dozen or so people in a mass grave, but as the president of the Institute of National Remembrance added, there will be more, because only survey research has been carried out so far.

The President of the Institute of National Remembrance drew attention to “brutal, cruel statistics relating to German crimes and what was done to war criminals in the Federal Republic of Germany after 1945.”

– After 1945, the German state emerging into democracy and prosperity, the Federal Republic of Germany, had all the tools to try the criminals from the Einsatzgruppen and Selbstschutz, to judge all those responsible for the Pomeranian crime. 1,701 perpetrators of the Pomeranian crime were identified. In Germany, 258 prosecutorial proceedings were conducted, 233 of them were discontinued, and only 10 people were convicted. (…) 10 convicted, about 30,000 murdered – recalled Nawrocki.

Death Valley in Chojnice

In the Death Valley in Chojnice (Pomeranian Voivodeship), work related to the exhumation of the remains of victims of German crimes during World War II began in June 2021. They were preceded by archaeological research, which was carried out from May 9 to December 15, 2020.

During the exhumation and archaeological research carried out so far as part of the Institute of National Remembrance investigation in the Valley of Death, the remains of crime victims and personal items belonging to them or their fragments were discovered. In total, according to investigators’ findings, a ton of human bones and their fragments were recovered. Over 4,250 artifacts or their elements were also found, which belonged to the victims at the time of death, including: wedding rings, rings, signet rings, medallions with the image of the Virgin Mary, crosses, beads constituting elements of rosaries, silver pocket and wrist watches, fragments of footwear , various types of buttons, glasses, spoons, false teeth. Some of the items were destroyed as a result of contact with fire. Based on the found wedding rings, the identities of the two murdered and most likely burned women were established. These are Irena Szydłowska and Anna Stołowska.

The inhabitants call the Pine Fields the Valley of DeathArcheology of Death Valley

The Pomeranian Massacre was a planned extermination operation carried out by the Germans in the pre-war Pomeranian Voivodeship in over 400 towns against the Polish civilian population.

On the Igielskie Fields, members of the paramilitary Selbstschutz murdered approximately 500 inhabitants of the Chojnice district. The Polish population then called the place of execution the Valley of Death. The Institute of National Remembrance talks about difficult estimates of the number of people murdered by the Germans in Chojnice alone. “The data provided by historians differ significantly and range from 200 to almost 3,400 people,” says the Institute of National Remembrance.

By resolution of January 13, 2023, the Sejm established October 2 as the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the German Pomeranian Crime of 1939.

View of the Pine Fields in the 1970s.private collection of P. Szczepanik

“There are more burnt human bones than sand in this land” >>>

On December 8, 1945, an official funeral was held for the victims who were exhumed in Death Valley.private collection of M. Wawrzyniak

Memories of the inhabitants of Chojnice and the surrounding area7/08| The inhabitants of Chojnice called this place the Valley of Death after the first executions. During World War II, the Germans murdered over a thousand people on the Igielskie Fields. Just because they were Poles.Archeology of Death Valley

The project is called the Archeology of Death Valley

The project is called the Archeology of Death Valley4/06| The inhabitants of Chojnice called this place the Valley of Death after the first executions. Several hundred people were murdered on the Igielskie Fields during World War II. Now Death Valley will be explored again by archaeologists.Archeology of Death Valley/Daniel Frymark

Main photo source: Archeology of Death Valley

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