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 Polish researchers find mass graves at former Nazi death camp of Sobibor

 The Associated Press
 11/23/01 3:34 PM

 WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Polish researchers said Friday that they have 
discovered mass graves at Sobibor, a death camp in eastern Poland 
that was razed by the Nazis after inmates staged an uprising.

 Seven mass graves and the sites where several buildings stood were 
found, said Andrzej Kola, an archaeology professor supervising what 
he said was the first thorough study of the former camp.

 The Nazis, who built the camp in occupied Poland in 1942, razed it 
in 1943 after an uprising in which inmates killed nine guards and 
tried to flee.

 Three hundred Jews escaped from the camp, but dozens of them were 
killed in a surrounding mine field and most of the rest were hunted 
down over subsequent days.

 A total of about 50 people who escaped from Sobibor survived 
World War II.  Some 250,000 people, most of them Jews, are believed 
to have died in the camp.

 The research team began drilling around the site over the summer to
determine where buildings and graves might have been located, Kola 
said. The study is sponsored the government.

 The drillings provided the initial evidence of mass graves and 
traces of a long barrack. After further excavation at the building 
site, researchers uncovered 1,700 bullets in one of its corners, 
leading them to believe that prisoners were executed there, Kola 

 Researchers also found various objects used by inmates or guards, 
including metal cups and spoons, watches and binoculars.

 Kola said the barrack, located about 70 yards from the mass 
graves, might have served as a gas chamber, but that further study 
was necessary. More archaeological research is planned for next year 
after the ground thaws.

 The test drillings and preliminary excavations have been 
concentrated at former camp No. 3 at Sobibor, which was a death 
camp. Two other sections were used to imprison slave laborers.

 The camp, on Poland's eastern border with Belarus, was turned 
into a Holocaust memorial in the 1960s by the Polish government. 
New memorial plaques, a parking lot and a small exhibition were 
added in the 1990s.

 The government plans to expand the museum at Sobibor, which 
will include artifacts recovered during the archaeological 

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