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Stargard. Scientists found remains on the site of the former Stalag II-D camp

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In the German camp Stalag II-D in Stargard (West Pomeranian Voivodeship), scientists found the remains of several dozen people. According to the head of the Department of Forensic Genetics of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, the preliminary examination shows that most of these people died of exhaustion. – Prisoners of war were used for the toughest jobs, they lived in terrible conditions and the death rate was really very high – he explains.

Scientists found the remains on the premises of the German camp for prisoners of war Stalag II-D in Stargard. – It is a very large mass grave, so we are currently unable to estimate exactly how many people we have. It is a multi-layer grave – for sure at least 40 people have been found in its top layer, but we also know that there are other remains in the next layers – said Dr. n. med. Andrzej Ossowski, head of the Department of Forensic Genetics of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin. He added that the preliminary examination shows that most of the prisoners buried in the mass grave died of exhaustion. However, he emphasized that this is the initial stage of research, and “experience shows that in such places we also find the remains of soldiers who were tortured or executed”.

– The conditions were very difficult here – the prisoners were first in tents, then they dug themselves dugouts, then the construction of barracks began. The work they were burdened with was also very hard – prisoners of war were used for the hardest work, they lived in terrible conditions and the death rate was really very high – said the geneticist.

Archaeological and genetic research was carried out in the campPAP / Marcin Bielecki

They want to find the soldiers and bury them

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As Ossowski explained, archaeological research of one of the mass graves is currently underway – these were preceded by GPR research, which allowed for a more precise location of the burial sites. – We would like to inventory the entire burial place, find, among others soldiers of the Polish Army, who certainly also rested here and finally lead to their dignified burial – he explains.

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He emphasized that the scientists plan to conduct a full anthropological and medical-forensic analysis of the remains, as well as genetic tests.

– The further stages of the project will be their identification, of course, if it is possible. I cannot imagine that, with today’s possibilities, we would not complete a full research. We will try to learn as much as possible about this place – assured the geneticist.

The remains of several dozen people were found by scientists conducting the researchPAP / Marcin Bielecki

One of the largest POW camps in the Third Reich

This is the first comprehensive study of this type in the former camp. Previously, the Military Property Agency, which owns the site, conducted a survey after history enthusiasts introduced the location of the burial site next to the complex. Stalag II-D was one of the largest POW camps in the Third Reich. From 1939 (initially it operated as a transit camp, Dulag L) it was used by prisoners of war from all over Europe, private soldiers and non-commissioned officers, including soldiers of General Kleeberg’s army, but also other Polish, French, Belgian and Soviet soldiers. Prisoners of war who ended up in the camp worked in work commandos all over Pomerania, incl. in estates and road construction. Many of them died during the works – they were buried near the place where they worked. The camp operated until the evacuation in February 1945. Research in Stalag II-D was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports.

Main photo source: PAP / Marcin Bielecki



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