Gruesome discovery of 500 bodies in concentration camp mass grave

Gruesome discovery of 500 bodies of mostly women and children in mass grave at former Nazi concentration camp

  • Remains of over 500 victims, many with signs of torture, unearthed in Russia 
  • Skulls and bones uncovered at a former Nazi concentration camp, Dulag-191
  • Site was discovered from unclassified secret service documents, aerial photographs made by a German pilot in 1942, and testimonies from survivors
  •  Archives suggest at least 8,500 women and children died at the transit camp
  • WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT 

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

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

Some 64 state investigators and search volunteers are currently working at the site, which was part of Dulag-191 in Voronezh region. 

A mass grave of over 500 women and children has been unearthed at a former Nazi concentration camp in Russia

The mass grave was discovered with the help of unclassified intelligence reports and testimonies from survivors of Dulag-191 in Voronezh region

 Volunteer Mikhail Segodin said many of the remains bore signs of blunt force trauma, or broken bones

Harrowing video footage shows excavators unearthing skulls and body parts in an area occupied by Hitler’s forces during the Second World War.

‘The estimated death toll is about 500 people,’ said Mikhail Segodin, head of the Don search volunteer squad. ‘The main contingent of the camp was made up of women and children’

Archives suggest that overall 8,500 people perished at Dulag-191, a German transit camp set up in Russian territory.  

The search for human remains at the site is concentrating on 15 pits, each mass graves that contain between 30 and 100 remains in the vicinity of Lushnikovo village, Ostrogozhsky district. 

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

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

The burial site was found with the help of unclassified secret service documents and aerial photographs made by a German pilot in 1942

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

 Some 64 state investigators and search volunteers are currently working at the site, which was part of Dulag-191 in Voronezh region

Archives suggest that overall 8,500 people perished at Dulag-191, a German transit camp set up in Russian territory

‘Judging by the remains unearthed so far we see gunshot wounds, blunt traumas, in other words, broken bones,’ said Segodin.

‘Mostly tubular bones have survived, but often only teeth remain from the skulls.

‘The only thing that can be said for sure is that almost all of the people who died here were young.

‘We did not find any valuable things, except perhaps a cigarette case damaged by gun fire.’ 

The concentration camp system Dulag-191, 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’

Many of the skulls show signs of blunt force trauma or gunshot wounds and it is believed women and children in the camp were tortured

Inmates from Dulag-191 were forced to construct a railway for the Nazis known as the Berlinka line, built to supply German forces seeking to take Stalingrad

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

The reported said the camp was ‘at a brick factory in the suburban village of Lushnikovka’.  

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

The report added: ‘Prisoners are not fed, but children are allowed to gather alms, parcels are also allowed.

‘There are many ill people there, medical aid is not provided. There is a high mortality rate.’ 

Historian Viktor Strelkin spoke to eyewitnesses and prisoners who are still alive, who were able to direct him to the site of the mass grave. 

He said:  ‘I was told that in these pits, right under our feet, lay the dead. Sometimes they lay openly, or they were covered with 10 or 15 centimetres of soil, but its sagged and the corpses were visible again.’

Volunteer Segodian said his team would continue to comb the area, with specialists from the Investigative Committee, in the hope of uncovering more bodies.   

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

Inmates from Dulag-191 were forced to construct a railway for the Nazis known as the Berlinka line, built to supply German forces seeking to take Stalingrad. 

The burial site was found with the help of unclassified secret service documents and aerial photographs made by a German pilot in 1942. 

Historian Viktor Strelkin (pictured) spoke to eyewitnesses and prisoners who are still alive, who were able to direct him to the site of the mass grave

The burial site was found with the help of unclassified secret service documents and aerial photographs made by a German pilot in 1942

Nazi concentration camps in Russia

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

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 they invaded in 1941 when the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact, intended to stop Hitler attacking on the eastern front, fell apart. 

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

German troops 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

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

Dulag-191 in Lushnikovka was primarily used to house women and children before deportation to concentration camps in German-controlled territory.

Overall, the transit camps were similar to the concentration camps. However, they were often not run the SS, but by local collaborators.   

Detention in these overcrowded camps was usually indefinite and most endured months or years of captivity and brutal torture. 

Most spent their days doing forced labour, though this varied across different camps. Many camps worked their prisoners to death.

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

The Nazis built a series of concentration camps, mostly Dulags – transit camps – on conquered Russian territory during the Second World War (pictured, a camp in Hannover)

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