Five human skeletons found outside Nazi leader’s home in Poland

(CNN) — A group of archaeologists unearthed the skeletons of five people missing hands and feet from a former Nazi military base in Poland.

The discovery was at a Nazi command center known as the Wolf’s Lair in Gierloz, northeastern Poland, after the group unearthed a human skull fragment during an excavation on February 24 and alerted local authorities, who decided to take carry out more searches.

The remains belonged to three adults, a teenager and a newborn baby, according to a statement from the Latebra Foundation, a historical organization based in the Polish city of Gdansk, published this Thursday.

The remains were found in what appears to be an old bathroom. Credit: Latebra Poland Foundation.

The five bodies were placed close to each other, facing the same direction, outside a house occupied by Nazi commander Hermann Göring, a fighter pilot during World War I who became one of the most powerful Nazi leaders in the world. World War II and a close friend of Adolf Hitler.

Burned boards and remains of sewage infrastructure were found next to them, but no traces of clothing were found, according to the statement.

Adrian Kostrzewa, a member of the foundation’s board of directors, told CNN that the team initially thought they were digging up an old bathroom when they found pipes underground.

Polish police are investigating the discovery. Credit: Latebra Poland Foundation.

However, they later found ashes and a burnt key, before finding the skull fragment.

“It was very surprising,” Kostrzewa said.

The foundation is waiting to hear the results of a police investigation into the remains so several questions still remain unanswered.

“There are many theories as to why they don’t have hands and feet,” Kostrzewa said. “Right now it’s very difficult to say.”

The excavation site is outside a house within the Wolf’s Lair. Credit: Latebra Poland Foundation.

The next important step is to determine the age of the remains through radiocarbon dating, he added.

The Wolf’s Lair, deliberately built miles from civilization in the forests of northeastern Poland, was the headquarters of the Nazis’ 6.5-square-kilometer (2.5-square-mile) Eastern Front.

According to the foundation, the base was one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

“The uniqueness of this discovery lies in the fact that the bodies were found in the facilities of the most guarded complex in the Third Reich,” the statement explains.

Hitler spent almost three years there in total.

The fortress was the site of Operation Valkyrie, an assassination attempt against Hitler in July 1944, before being destroyed in January 1945 to prevent it from falling into the hands of the advancing Soviet army, according to the foundation.

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