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Rumors Force Authorities To Exhume World War II Remains

July 15, 1987

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Authorities in northeastern Poland exhumed the World War II remains of 11 German soldiers Wednesday because of rumors that Polish civilians killed during the war were buried there, an official said.

The remains were dug up in a woods in Suwalki province near the village of Giby in extreme northeastern Poland, six miles from the Soviet border.

″The remains in the grave are of German soldiers, and evidence unequivocally proves that,′ said Waldemar Sokolowski, a Giby village council member who was present during the exhumation.

According to Sokolowski, officials decided to dig at the site because of persistent rumors that it contained a mass grave of Polish civilians rounded up by Nazi troops during World War II. The rumors were so strong that some people had begun to dig on their own in search of the bodies.

″In view of both the rumors and the individual efforts, the provincial authorities decided to officially exhume the corpses. The action has ended today and the bodies will be buried tomorrow,″ Sokolowski said in a telephone interview.

The village parish priest, who declined to be identified by name, said the bodies were laid out neatly spaced about a yard apart and there were no signs of bullet holes in the skulls.

Sokolowski said that an SS badge was found on one of the corpses.

Sokolowski said police, a judge and a prosecutor were present for the exhumation, along with crowds of spectators.

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