Renovations at Auschwitz Revealed Tools Hidden Beneath a Chimney

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Auschwitz and similar concentration (or death) camps have remained largely untouched aside from readying them to put their horrors on display for the public. Recently, historians and other researchers have been working to turn part of Auschwitz into a new exhibition, and they’ve made quite a discovery beneath the flue of a crumbled chimney.

Austria’s National Fund for Victims of National Socialism found “knives, forks, hooks, scissors, pieces of leather, cobbler’s tools, and parts of shoes in Block 17, part of the “main camp” in southern Poland. All of the items have been sent to the Auschwitz Museum to be preserved and catalogued.

The building was believed to have been home to chimney sweeps and other people with specialized manual skills, and the cellar (according to survivors) was where workshops were often set up. The tools, then, could have been used to making and repairing clothes, bartering, preparing an escape, or picking locks – but it’s all speculation as of today.

Block 17 was part of the original Auschwitz footprint, and up to 20,000 prisoners were held there at any given time. By the end of the war more than 40 sub-camps had sprung up, like Birkenau, where thousands were gassed to death in chambers.

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In over four years, more than 1.1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz.

Discoveries like this one help keep their lives fresh in our memories and the atrocities they suffered front and center in the history books.

Maybe it’s been said too many times, but we think it bears repeating…

Never again.