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WWII Grave Found at U.S. Base in Germany

September 21, 2005

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) _ Workers at a U.S. Army airfield have uncovered a World War II-era grave containing the bodies of 34 people believed to be Jewish slave laborers used by the Nazis, German authorities said Wednesday.

The skeletal remains were found Monday during work on the airfield, next to Stuttgart’s airport, said Ulrich Heffner, a police spokesman in the southwestern city.

Preliminary examination of the remains indicate that they are of the right age to be the bodies of Jews used as forced laborers in the area, Heffner said.

Police investigator Norbert Walz said two or three of those found may have been alive when they were placed in the grave. Prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into suspected murder.

Jewish inmates from a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp across the French border were used as slave laborers at the air base between November 1944 and February 1945 when it was in German hands, Heffner said.

More than 100 are believed to have died of hunger and typhus in that period, he said.

Nineteen bodies were cremated at the time, and another 66 corpses were found buried in nearby woodland in October 1945, shortly after the war ended.

Authorities are trying to identify the bodies _ a process that could mean tracking down relatives and performing DNA tests _ and are looking for possible witnesses.

Work at the airfield entrance has been suspended as the investigation proceeds.

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