Gruesome discovery of 500 bodies in mass grave in former Nazi concentration camp

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A mass grave of hundreds of women and children has been excavated in a former Nazi concentration camp in Russia.

The remains of 500 victims have been found, many with gunshot wounds and signs of torture. Other inmates are believed to have died of malnutrition and disease.

About 64 state researchers and search volunteers are currently working on the site, which was part of Dulag-191 in the Voronezh region.

A mass grave of more than 500 women and children has been excavated in a former Nazi concentration camp in Russia

A mass grave of more than 500 women and children has been excavated in a former Nazi concentration camp in Russia

The mass grave was discovered using unclassified intelligence reports and testimony from survivors of Dulag-191 in the Voronezh region

The mass grave was discovered using unclassified intelligence reports and testimony from survivors of Dulag-191 in the Voronezh region

Volunteer Mikhail Segodin said many of the remains showed signs of blunt trauma or fractures

Volunteer Mikhail Segodin said many of the remains showed signs of blunt trauma or fractures

Poignant video footage shows excavators excavating skulls and body parts in an area occupied by Hitler’s forces during World War II.

“The estimated death toll is about 500 people,” said Mikhail Segodin, head of the Don Search volunteer squad. ‘The main contingent of the camp consisted of women and children’

Records show that a total of 8,500 people died in Dulag-191, a German transit camp on Russian territory.

The search for human remains at the site focuses on 15 wells, each mass grave containing between 30 and 100 remains near the village of Lushnikovo, in Ostrogozhsky district.

The remains of 500 victims have been found, many with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.  Other inmates are believed to have died of malnutrition and disease

The remains of 500 victims have been found, many with gunshot wounds and signs of torture. Other inmates are believed to have died of malnutrition and disease

Dulag-191 was located in the village of Lushnikovka, in the southwestern Voronezh region of Russia

Dulag-191 was located in the village of Lushnikovka, in the southwestern Voronezh region of Russia

The cemetery was found using unclassified Secret Service documents and aerial photographs taken by a German pilot in 1942

The cemetery was found using unclassified Secret Service documents and aerial photographs taken by a German pilot in 1942

Excavators said they found very few valuable items among the remains, other than a cigarette case damaged by a bullet

Excavators said they found very few valuable items among the remains, other than a cigarette case damaged by a bullet

About 64 state researchers and search volunteers are currently working on the site, which was part of Dulag-191 in the Voronezh region

About 64 state researchers and search volunteers are currently working on the site, which was part of Dulag-191 in the Voronezh region

Records show that a total of 8,500 people died in Dulag-191, a German transit camp on Russian territory

Records show that a total of 8,500 people died in Dulag-191, a German transit camp on Russian territory

“Judging by the remains unearthed so far, we see gunshot wounds, blunt trauma, in other words, broken bones,” Segodin said.

Usually tubular bones survived, but often only teeth of the skulls remain.

The only thing that can be said with certainty is that almost all of the people who died here were young.

“We didn’t find any valuables, except maybe a cigarette case damaged by gunfire.”

The Dulag-191 concentration camp system, where the mass grave is now being excavated, was created in the Voronezh region in 1942.

The Dulag-191 concentration camp system, where the mass grave is now being excavated, was created in the Voronezh region in 1942.

Unclassified intelligence reports described Dulag-191 as a brick factory in the suburban village of Lushnikovka '

Unclassified intelligence reports described Dulag-191 as a brick factory in the suburban village of Lushnikovka ‘

Many of the skulls show signs of blunt trauma or gunshot wounds and women and children are believed to have been tortured in the camp

Many of the skulls show signs of blunt trauma or gunshot wounds and women and children are believed to have been tortured in the camp

Prisoners of Dulag-191 were forced to construct a Nazi railway known as the Berlinka Line, built to supply German troops who wanted to take Stalingrad.

Prisoners of Dulag-191 were forced to construct a Nazi railway known as the Berlinka Line, built to supply German troops who wanted to take Stalingrad.

A Soviet intelligence report from the Office of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs for the Voronezh Region, dated September 2, 1942, stated that there was a concentration camp for women and children in the area.

According to the reporters, the camp was “in a brick factory in the suburban village of Lushnikovka.”

The camp was described as ‘out in the open, surrounded by four rows of barbed wire’ and it was ‘guarded by Magyars’ [Hungarians].

The report added: ‘Prisoners are not given food, but children are allowed to collect alms, parcels are also allowed.

‘There are a lot of sick people there, no medical help is offered. There is a high mortality rate. ‘

Historian Viktor Strelkin spoke to eyewitnesses and living prisoners who were able to lead him to the site of the mass grave.

He said, “I was told that in these wells, right under our feet, were the dead. Sometimes they lay open or covered with four or six inches of soil, but it sagged and the corpses were visible again. ‘

Volunteer Segodian said his team would continue to comb the area, with specialists from the commission of inquiry, hoping to uncover more bodies.

The Dulag-191 concentration camp system was established in the Voronezh region in 1942.

Prisoners of Dulag-191 were forced to construct a Nazi railway known as the Berlinka Line, built to supply German troops who wanted to take Stalingrad.

The cemetery was found using unclassified Secret Service documents and aerial photographs taken by a German pilot in 1942.

Historian Viktor Strelkin (pictured) spoke to eyewitnesses and living prisoners who were able to lead him to the site of the mass grave

Historian Viktor Strelkin (pictured) spoke to eyewitnesses and living prisoners who were able to lead him to the site of the mass grave

The cemetery was found using unclassified Secret Service documents and aerial photographs taken by a German pilot in 1942

The cemetery was found using unclassified Secret Service documents and aerial photographs taken by a German pilot in 1942

Nazi concentration camps in Russia

The Nazis built a series of concentration camps, mainly Dulags – transit camps – on conquered Russian territory during World War II.

They exported their anti-Semitic and racial policies from Germany elsewhere, imprisoning Jews, minorities and prisoners of war in the camps.

Nazis started building camps in Russia after being invaded in 1941 when the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact intended to stop Hitler’s attack on the Eastern Front fell apart.

The 1941 invasion, known as Operation Barbarossa, was initially extremely successful, forcing Joseph Stalin’s Red Army to retreat behind the Dneiper and Dvina rivers.

German forces march captured Russian soldiers to camps during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941

German forces march captured Russian soldiers to camps during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941

German tanks prepare for Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the Soviet Union - in June 1941

German tanks prepare for Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union – in June 1941

Once on Russian territory, the Nazis built several Dulags and camps to house Jews, minorities, and prisoners of war.

Dulag-191 in Lushnikovka was mainly used to house women and children before being deported to concentration camps in German-controlled area.

In general, the transit camps resembled the concentration camps. However, they were often not led by the SS, but by local employees.

Detention in these overcrowded camps was usually indefinite, lasting most of the months or years of imprisonment and cruel torture.

Most spent their days in forced labor, although this varied from camps to camps. In many camps their prisoners worked dead.

Many of the camps had been Russian gulags under Joseph Stalin and were turned back into political Soviet prisons at the end of the war.

The Nazis built a series of concentration camps, mainly Dulags - transit camps - on conquered Russian territory during World War II (photo, a camp in Hanover)

The Nazis built a series of concentration camps, mainly Dulags – transit camps – on conquered Russian territory during World War II (photo, a camp in Hanover)

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