A small aluminum tin with an engraved portrait, a name in Cyrillic script and a date: it was accidentally excavated at the site of former Camp Amersfoort at the end of last month and is tangible evidence of the presence of a hundred Soviet prisoners of war in the camp, who died there in World War II by mistreatment and execution.
The box, measuring 8 by 7.5 centimeters, consists of two loose lids, made of aluminum that has probably been reused, says archaeologist Ivar Schute, specialized in World War II, who has studied the find. Inside there is a serial number that can indicate, for example, a food tin. One of the lids is carved with a sharp object, the image of a woman with loose hair, the other lid has engraved characters, letters from the Cyrillic alphabet and some loose numbers, partly illegible due to corrosion and damage, says Floris van Dijk, research coordinator of Camp Amersfoort. What could be traced was the beginning of a year (19), a date in June (20, 23 or 25) and a name:
The can was found during work on the Police Academy, which was placed on the former camp site in the years after the war. It was in the ground in a place where Barrack 3 was located almost 80 years ago, one of the places where the hundred Soviet prisoners of war were detained who arrived in Camp Amersfoort in September 1941. In that camp, more than 45 thousand mainly political prisoners were detained by the Germans under degrading conditions, but the Soviet prisoners were treated even worse by the guards: 23 died from exhaustion and mistreatment, the rest were executed. After the war, their bodies were excavated and reburied in the Soviet Field of Honor in Leusden.
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