Beautiful church bell hidden during WWII unearthed over 80 years later
A bell hidden from marauding Germans during WWII has again rung out across the mountain valleys after being excavated from the ground over 80 years later.
The 300-kg bell which has been preserved in perfect condition was found hidden inside the remains of a bell tower in the village of Maniów, near Sanok.
Fearing that it would be stolen by the occupying forces, residents decided to bury it under a meter-high layer of earth and stone in the village’s 19th century Greek Catholic church.
The wooden church was destroyed in 1944 and since then the bell has lain hidden despite locals knowing about its location for the last 20 years.
But, after finally managing to get official clearances, over 20 people from the museum of folk architecture in Sanok and the local community took part in the excavation.
Richly decorated, the bell was cast in the famous bell foundry of the Felczyński brothers in Przemyśl and clearly shows the figures of saints Peter, Paul, James and Joseph.
Edward Marszałek from the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Krosno said that the biggest part of the whole operation was the sound test.
He said: “After hitting the canopy raised on the ropes, after 80 years, the sound of calling the faithful to prayer or taking the dead to a nearby cemetery was heard again in the vicinity of Maniów."
Archaeologist and former director of Sanok’s Museum of Folk Architecture Jerzy Ginalski who led the operation added: “Many formalities had to be completed, because the find must have its own formal guardian and manager.
“This is my fifth bell excavated from the ground, but the first one buried directly under the bell tower floor.
“The conservator of monuments will decide where it will find its final place.
“I think that the best location to display it is in the Sanok open-air museum, as an institution that preserves traces of the material culture of the former inhabitants of these mountains.”