Children of Survivors Tell of a Secret Escape Tunnel

Some situations are just too cruel to bear. This is one of them.  The Smithsonian website starts the story this way

Shortly after dawn one January day in 1944, a German military truck departed the center of Vilnius, in what is today Lithuania, and rattled southwest toward the fog-laced towns that ringed the city. Near the village of Ponar, the vehicle came to a halt, and a pale 18-year-old named Motke Zeidel, chained at the ankles, was led from the cargo hold.
Zeidel had heard the stories of what happened in the forest. It was a killing ground. He was sure that his time had come and that he would be shot as well. But he was not. He was to be part of

… the Ponar Burning Brigade, a group of 80 Jewish prisoners forced by the SS to dig up tens of thousands of bodies of their loved ones (murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian militia between 1941 and 1944), stack them in alternating layers with logs, pour gasoline on them and burn them to cinders.

The Nazis wanted to trace left of the massacre. But a few of the prisoners built a secret tunnel and escaped. And that escape tunnel has just been found.

NOVA has the story. And it is one to watch! You might be able to see it at the above link to “The History Blog”. Go for it!


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