Concentration Camp
Concentration Camp iStock

Two mass graves containing the remains of over 8,000 people murdered by the Nazis during World War II were found in Poland, according to the the country’s Institute of National Remembrance.

Special investigators in Poland announced that the two mass graves contained the ashes of over 8,000 Poles killed by the Nazis in forest executions during World War II, which the Nazis later tried to cover up by incinerating the bodies and planting trees over the sites.

The grave sites in the Bialuty Forest, located 100 miles north of Warsaw, were marked this week with speeches and wreath-laying, CBS News reported.

According to Karol Nawrocki, the head of the Institute of National Remembrance, in March 1944, the German occupying forces began removing the bodies, mostly inmates of the Soldau concentration camp in Dzialdowo who were murdered there between 1940 and 1944, from the forest and incinerating them “in order to prevent this crime from ever being known, in order to prevent anyone taking responsibility for it.”

The forest had been known as the site of the mass graves but the exact location and number of remains had not previously been known until this month.

At least 17 tons of ashes in two 10-foot deep pits were discovered.