‘Nazi death quarry’ where Hitler’s forces massacred women and children by caving their skulls in is unearthed in Russia
Gruesome evidence of how the Nazis massacred women and tiny children has emerged from a Hitler ‘death quarry’ in Russia.
Some 3,500 people were executed in a genocide mass grave at Salsk brickworks but diggers have been especially appalled at the discovery of the remains of dozens of slaughtered boys and girls, including babies.
The macabre remains are now being unearthed after the declassification of documents from KGB secret service archives relating to the Soviet era.
Excavations are underway at multiple sites in Russia, but this location in Rostov region has left diggers utterly horrified at the barbarity of the killings.
‘Our expedition continues to work in the death quarry of the city of Salsk,’ said volunteer search squad Mius-Front which is working closely with the country’s Investigative Committee, in charge of probing serious crimes.
Skeletons discovered at the Salsk ‘death quarry’ (left) and a crushed skull lies beside a pair of spectacles
Fragments of bones discovered by the search teams. It’s estimated that more than 3,000 innocent Russians were massacred by the Nazis at Salsk
A map showing the town of Salsk, east of Rostov, during the German advance to Stalingrad in 1942. They were forced to retreat in the winter of 1942 as the Russians counterattacked and recaptured towns and cities
‘Here, the Nazis killed 3,500 civilians in 1942-43. There were many children among them.
‘Today, 15 children from one to ten years old were found and taken out. It is scary.’
Later they added: ‘There is nothing more terrifying in war than seeing children die.
‘Any war veteran will tell you that … We have already found 20 children in just one execution pit.’
Unusually, not all the victims were shot.
‘For the majority, death came from blows to the head with a boot or fist,’ said the archaeologists.
‘Perhaps the children’s heads were smashed against the dried clay of the quarry.
‘We have not encountered this before.’
A few Red Army prisoners of war were among the dead but most were the old, the young, and a hugely disproportionate number of women.
Among 60 sets of human remains where DNA analysis has been conducted, 16 are women, and 19 children between the ages of two and late teens.
The group’s head Andrey Kudryakov is heard on video saying: ‘This is a child’s boot, here is a very small collarbone. Here a tiny skull – broken. Nearby is probably his mum.
‘A little four or five year old human. Together with mum in this dreadful execution pit.’
Head of the squad Mius-Front Andrey Kudryakov at the excavation site
Excavators clear the bones of dirt and rocks
The crew have been combing through land outside the town of Salsk
Skeletons discovered in the ‘death quarry’
The excavations in the execution pits is ‘psychologically hard’, but he said: ‘This is not ordinary archeology or search work.
‘This is the establishment of historical justice.’
This area – not well investigated previously – ‘is now revealing its terrible secrets’.
‘We see how many kids died here. The aim is to highlight the horror and seek a legal finding for the Nazi crimes “without a statute of limitations”‘.
Kudryakov told of a young pregnant woman with a Cossack cross around her neck.
‘She clasped her head in her hands in horror so as not to see how she was being killed,’ he said.
‘Next to her lie the torn children, they tried to hide from death, but Hitler’s executioners finished them off with bayonets.
‘They didn’t waste bullets, or maybe they ran out of cartridges.
‘The punishers had much work in the clay quarry of Salsk,
‘it took a lot of ammunition to shoot hundreds of people, so they saved their bullets, and beat them with rifle butts, kicked with boots, and stabbed with bayonets.’
The dead are believed to include Russians, Jews and gypsies.
The KGB had hidden the scale of the Nazi atrocity from its own people but the release of secret files from Soviet-era vaults is enabling searches for human remains to go ahead.
The hope is to match some victims by DNA to their modern-day relatives.