Construction workers have unearthed a World War II-era mass grave containing what are believed to be the bodies of 1,800 German men, women and children near Poland's border with Germany, authorities said Monday.
Poles excavating the site of a planned luxury hotel in Malbork excavated the wartime bomb crater at the foot of the city's famous 13th century Teutonic Knights fortress in October.
It was not immediately clear how the bodies got there, but initial examinations by Polish and German experts have now concluded that they are likely the remains of German citizens still classified as "missing" more than 60 years after the end of the war, town official Piotr Szwedowski told The Associated Press. The town was part of Germany at the time.
"Examination of the remains and the circumstances confirm that these are the missing German inhabitants of Malbork," Szwedowski said. "I have no doubt it is them."
The bodies were buried naked without any possessions, he said.
"We found no trace of any clothes, shoes, belts, glasses — not even dentures or false teeth," he said.
Some 100 skulls — primarily of adults — have bullet holes in them, suggesting the people could have been executed, but it is still unclear how the others were killed, Szwedowski said. (Continues)