Human remains found near Jewish mass grave in Romania

Archaeologists unearth more human remains near site of Romanian mass grave for Jews killed during World War II.


Excavating mass grave (illustrative)
Excavating mass grave (illustrative)

Archaeologists have unearthed more human remains near the site of a Romanian mass grave for Jews killed during World War II, Romanian prosecutors said Tuesday.

"Several human remains" were found near a site first discovered in 2010 where Romanian troops allied with Nazi Germany killed dozens of Jews, military prosecutors said.

Following the initial discovery, the remains of victims were exhumed -- but the latest discoveries point to another mass grave in the northeastern town of Popricani.

The team of archaeologists is backed by the Elie Wiesel Institute for documenting the Holocaust and named for the Romanian-born Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace laureate.

"It seems there is a second burial site," historian Adrian Cioflanca, whose research led to the initial discovery of the remains of some 40 people -- including 12 children -- told AFP. The youngest victim was just two years old.

According to Cioflanca, contemporary witnesses who survived said more than 100 Jews were killed in Popricani forest in the summer of 1941.

Although Romania has long denied taking part in the Holocaust, an investigation by military prosecutors concluded in 2014 that the Popricani massacre was the work of Romanian troops.

The investigation was closed after prosecutors' concluded that the perpetrators had already been sentenced in 1948 for their role in another massacre, according to Cioflanca.

Pogroms during the Holocaust are estimated to have killed 15,000 Jewish residents of Iasi, another northeastern Romanian town, and nearby villages, according to an international commission that Wiesel led prior to his death in 2016.

The report found that 280,000 Romanian Jews and 380,000 Ukrainian Jews died during the war in Romania and territories under its control.