Jan 17, 2017

Pendant Found at Nazi Death Camp Possibly Linked to Anne Frank

Archaeologists excavating one of the most infamous Nazi death camps have uncovered a mysterious connection to Anne Frank in the shape of a unique pendant.

Found in Sobibór, one of the main Nazi extermination camps in German-occupied Poland, the triangular pendant appears to be identical to one known to have belonged to the Holocaust diarist.

It bears the Hebrew words "Mazel Tov" (Congratulations), the date 3.7.1929 and the word Frankfurt on one side. On the reverse side, it features the Hebrew letter hei, used to symbolize God's name, as well as three Stars of David.

"The only difference is that this pendant features a date of birth different to that of Anne Frank, who was born on June 12, 1929," Yoram Haimi, an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said.

Separated by just three weeks, both the owner of the pendant and Frank were born in Frankfurt.

After searching a database of Holocaust victims, researchers at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, came to the conclusion that the necklace belonged to a girl by the name of Karoline Cohn. Indeed, the girl was the only recorded individual born on July 3, 1929, in Frankfurt.

"She was on board a transport that departed in November 1941 from Frankfurt am Main to Minsk ghetto, " Joel Zissenwein, director of the deportations database project at Yad Vashem, said.

Historians have found no other pendants like those owned by Karoline and Anne, who was murdered in early 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration in Germany, when she was 15 years old.

They believe the girls are likely related and are now looking for relatives who may be able to shed light on any possible connection.

It is not known if Cohn survived the harsh conditions in the Minsk ghetto, however her pendant reached Sobibór sometime between November 1941 and September 1943, when the ghetto was liquidated and the 2,000 Jewish prisoners interned there were deported to the death camp in eastern Poland.

Haimi, along with Polish archaeologist Wojciech Mazurek and Dutch colleague Ivar Schute, found the pendant and other personal items, such as a woman's watch and a metal prayer charm, in the remains of a building where prisoners spent the last minutes of their lives.

It was there that "victims undressed and their heads shaved before being sent into the gas chambers," IAA said in a statement.

The building was located on the "Pathway to Heaven," the path on which a naked mass of people was forced to walk before entering the gas chambers.

Researchers believe the pendant belonging to the teenager Karoline Cohn slipped through floorboards and remained buried in the ground for over 70 years.

Sobibór was built in 1942 for the sole purpose of efficiently murdering Jews from German-occupied eastern Poland and occupied parts of the Soviet Union.

Non-Jewish prisoners of war as well as Jews from Czechoslovakia, Austria, Holland, Belgium and France were also put to death there.

The victims, overall an estimated 250,000 people, died within hours of arriving there.

The gas chambers were linked up to the exhaust systems of large diesel engines which produced carbon monoxide. It often took up to 30 minutes to die.

Some prisoners were spared immediate death and were retained to do labor, including helping in the gas chamber operations, as well as burying and cremating thousands of corpses.

The death camp was evacuated and destroyed on the orders of the SS chief Heinrich Himmler in October 1943, after an uprising by inmates.

Read more at Discovery News

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