Mass of bones of Nazi victims found

Archaeologists in Berlin have discovered a huge cache of human bones, close to where Nazi scientists did eugenics research on their victims.

Rachel Kaplan,

Skull (illustration)
Skull (illustration)
iStock

Archaeologists in Berlin have discovered a huge cache of human bones, at a site close to where Nazi-era scientists did eugenics research on the bodies of death camp victims.

Experts have been examining the site in Berlin's upper-crust Dahlem neighborhood since several bones were unearthed during a road works project on property belonging to Berlin's Free University.

Susan Pollock, a professor of archaeology for the university, reports finding "numerous fractured skulls, teeth, vertebrae." Pollock also says they found the bones of children.

The bones found in 2014 were never identified. Joerg Haspel, the leader of Berlin's memorial sites office, hopes the mass grave will prove to be "a new possibility to illuminate the unusual find and the circumstances under which they were buried."

Some of the bones have handwriting on them, while several of the vertebrae had glue on them, indicating they may have put on display.

The site is about 100 meters (300 feet) away from what once served as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for Human Heredity and Eugenics during the Nazi era.

Although the Kaiser Wilhelm Society predated the Nazis, it is famous for being used by the Nazis for pseudoscientific anatomical race research, meant to prove that Nazi "Aryans" were superior to other races, such as the Jews. Josef Mengele, the sadistic doctor of Auschwitz, was known to have sent many body parts there for study.

The Institute was also known to have a collection of bones dating from Germany's colonial era, among others.

Experts are now working to discover the age, gender, and number of people mixed into the bone pile, Pollock reports. Results are expected, at the earliest, by the end of the year.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Society was renamed the Max Planck Society after the end of World War II.

Earlier this year, the Max Planck Society ordered a complete review of its specimens collection after discovering human brain sections of Holocaust victims in its archive

"The Max Planck Society has accepted a difficult legacy of its predecessor organization, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society," said society president Martin Stratmann of his organization's participation in the ongoing archaeological investigation. "We are well aware of the special responsibility that it entails."


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