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article imageWorld War II mass grave found in north eastern Romania

By Gemma Fox     Nov 6, 2010 in World
Popricani - Archaeologists digging in north eastern Romania have discovered a mass grave which is said to contain the bodies of around 100 Jews who were killed during the Holocaust in World War II.
The discovery was made in a forest area known as Vulturi close to the village of Popricani, which is near to the city of Iasi and roughly 220 miles north east of the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
It's believed that up to 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were killed in Romania, which was allied to Nazi-Germany during part of WWII. Local witnesses have told researchers at the scene that they believe at least 100 men, woman and children are buried in the grave.
The Romanian branch of the Elie Wiesel Institute said in a statement, "One of the witnesses saw the shooting of the Jews because the soldiers thought that he himself was Jewish and intended to also shoot him, he was spared only when the soldiers were convinced that he was Christian Orthodox."
It's only the second mass grave to be found in Romania since the end of WWII, the first being in Stanca Roznovanu in Iasi where 311 bodies were found in 1945.
Romania has only recently acknowledged its role in the Holocaust, only admitting their part in the slaughter in 2003.
It's thought that the area in which the grave has been found was where Romanian and German troops marched through as they began their invasion of the Soviet Union.
So far 16 bodies have been recovered from the grave site and Romanian prosecutors have stated that they are to begin an investigation.
Adrian Cioflanca, a Romanian historian and co-ordinator of the archaeological works at the site said, "So far we exhumed 16 bodies but this is just the beginning because the mass grave is very deep and we only dug up superficially."
He also believes that the executors were Regiment 6, Mountain Rangers who were also thought to have an involvement in massacres which took place in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova.
It's estimated that Romania is home to between only 8,000-10,000 Jews, whereas, before the outbreak of World War II the Jewish population was around 750,000.
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