Mass grave of WWII German paratroopers found in field
A mass grave containing the skeletal remains of 18 German paratroopers killed during the final throes of WWII has been found in a field in Poland.
The grizzly find dating back to 1945 was uncovered in the village of Kożlice in southwest Poland.
During the war the area was part of Nazi Germany and had a Luftwaffe base north of the village.
Among the remains researchers from the POMOST Historical and Archaeological Research Laboratory discovered weapons, tools, soldiers’ dog tags and medals identifying them as a paratrooper unit attached to the Luftwaffe.
Included among the medals is a Spanish Cross, a distinguished award given to German troops who took part in the Spanish Civil War, when Hitler gave his backing to Spanish dictator Franco and sent his Condor Legion of the Luftwaffe to help.
A Luftwaffe symbol was also found etched into a steel tool along with a spare anti-aircraft sight for an MG rifle and a pocket watch.
The paratroopers are thought to have been based at the airfield which came under attack from Stalin’s 1st Ukrainian Front.
Established in the late 30s during Hitler’s build-up of military power, the airstrip was one of many secret training locations known as Einsatzhafen, meaning operating base.
With the advance of the Red Army, in January 1945, the Wehrmacht blew it up but a small force remained to take on Stalin’s troops.
Tomasz Czabanski, president of the archaeological group behind the discovery said: “Near rural buildings we discovered the mass grave of 18 German soldiers killed in 1945.
“We also found three identity tags near the remains. There was a lot going on here. Many individual graves have been discovered in this area.
“Fortunately, the inhabitants are friendly about our work. It also very often happens that they come and look at excavations, tell their stories and that's how we learn about yet other unidentified graves.”
He added: “There are still many undiscovered graves in this area.
“That is why we appeal to residents to provide information, photos, plans, sketches, memories, accounts and documents about German war graves in Poland.”
The remains will now be analysed before being buried in a military cemetery in the nearby city of Wrocław.