24 October 2008

Berlin: Kristallnacht remains discovered

Kristallnacht remains have been discovered in Brandenburg near Berlin, covering a site about the size of four soccer fields. The story appeared in the Guardian.

Israeli investigative journalist Yaron Svoray, who made the discovery, is the son of Holocaust survivors. He's a detective, Nazi hunter and FBI operative.

The dumping ground contains personal and ceremonial items looted during the November 9, 1938 night of terror which targeted Jewish property and places of worship. It is believed the items were brought by rail to the village and dumped.

Svoray said the historical significance of the find was pointed out to him by a historian. He was looking for something completely different when he came across the remains. Within two hours, he had uncovered the first items.

"The locals of this site have basically been living with this dark hidden secret for 70 years," he said.

Among the items he found were glass bottles engraved with the Star of David, Mezuzahs, painted window sills, and the armrests of chairs found in synagogues. He also found an ornamental swastika. His search continues, under the protection of bodyguards after threats to his life.

British historian and author Martin Gilbert said the size of the site wasn't surprising - some 1,400 synagogues, additional Jewish institutions, shops and homes were completely or partially destroyed.

The find was verified by educational historian Tanja Ronen-Lohnberg at a Holocaust research center - Ghetto Fighters' House - in Israel. "We don't want to falsify history, so we sent historians who confirmed these items belonged to the time." The center plans to organize a project for German and Israeli children to search together through the remains.

Read the complete story at the link above.

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