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Remains of Italian POWs Killed By Germans Uncovered

February 10, 1988

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Workers building a World War II memorial park have excavated about a dozen sacks of bones believed to be the remains of Italian prisoners of war killed by their former German allies, a magazine reported.

The remains were discovered recently near the town of Deblin, 60 miles southeast of Warsaw, where several Nazi slave-labor camps for Jews and Soviet, French and Italian prisoners of war were located, said the Warsaw magazine Stolica.

Henryk Urbanowicz, a member of a commission preparing the memorial park, told Stolica that objects found near the bones indicated they were the remains of Italian POWs ″bestially murdered″ by the Nazis who ordered the prisoners to dig shallow tunnels and then closed the tunnels, burying the victims alive.

Urbanowicz, interviewed by The Associated Press, did not say exactly when the bones were found or estimate how many bodies they represented.

Stolica reported 10,000 Italian POWs were killed in Deblin, but Jacek Wilczur, a government investigator, said that was the number of Italians taken to the camp and 2,000-3,000 Italian prisoners were killed there.

Wilczur, an investigator for the government’s Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, said some new graves of Italian prisoners had been opened up in Deblin several months ago. But he noted Polish resistance fighters had first reported the killings more than 40 years ago.

Urbanowicz, in an interview with Stolica, said ″new, shocking discoveries″ had been made about the killings of Italian soldiers interned because they refused to keep fighting with the Germans after Italy capitulated in 1943. Germany and Italy were allies in World War II.

″During work in an area adjacent to the local cemetery, human bones were found lying close to the surface,″ Urbanowicz told the magazine. ″A dozen or so sacks of those bones were collected.... Many others are still under the ground.″

Wilczur, who took part in the main investigation at the Deblin site in 1964-65, said Urbanowicz’ statements to Stolica contained misleading and exaggerated information.

″Nothing was uncovered now - it is an old story,″ said Wilczur in a telephone interview. ″We had known about those graves before, but People’s Poland is too poor to exhume all those killed and buried here (on Polish soil) during the war.″

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