Mass Graves in Graz

News Brief: Apr. 2010

The 2008 research project on the two mass graves, dating back to the years of WWII, has been recently brought to a halt. The burial sites were found in bomb craters underneath a sports field in Graz that was once the location of the Nazi SS Wetzelsdorf barracks. Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos presented the results of the findings on Mar.10.

The graves contained the bodies of dozens of people executed by the Nazis, believed to be killed shortly before the arrival of the Soviet troops. According to historian Dieter Binder, chairman of the Military History Memorial Commission, the victims included two Allied soldiers, resistance fighters, prisoners and Hungarian Jews. The Americans are assumed to be pilots, shot down and imprisoned during the war.

In all, some 149 to 219 bodies were buried in the area, that many claim, were executed by the SS in order to eliminate possible witnesses to Nazi atrocities in the final years of the war. The locations were identified from recently released wartime photos by Allied bombers.“The essential continuation of this information needs a coordinated and cooperated approach by the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign and Justice,” Darabos stated.

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