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Mass Belarus WW II grave uncovered
( 2002-10-31 10:11 ) (7 )

Authorities discovered a mass grave on a military base with the remains of up to 12,000 people killed during World War II, Belarus defense officials said Wednesday.

The grave is in the town of Slutsk, nearly 60 miles south of the Belarus capital of Minsk, said Leonid Zakharenko, press secretary for the defense ministry.

Residents who discovered the grave told officials that Nazi troops executed and buried Jews from Slutsk and prisoners from a nearby concentration camp at the site from 1942 to 1944.

Authorities also suspect some of the victims, many of them stacked on top of each other, were Roman Catholics from Poland and Belarus, Zakharenko said.

"Searchers found the remains of people of different nationalities and ages, including children," Zakharenko said.

So far, authorities have recovered the remains of about 50 people but a full excavation of the site is planned for the spring.

Belarus was home to a substantial Jewish minority before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Of the 6 million Jews who died in Europe during World War II, 800,000 were killed by Nazis in Belarus.



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