London: A team of researchers has mapped a tunnel that Jewish prisoners secretly dug by hand to try to escape their Nazi captors during the Second World War.
Located 3m below ground, the tunnel was found by a team led by Dr Richard Freund at Ponary, Lithuania, the Mirror reported.
Survivor’s accounts and stories were used to hone in on the 30m-long tunnel’s location.
Between 1941 and 1944, as World War Two raged on, it’s estimated that 100,000 people were shot dead at close range by Nazi collaborators in Lithuania. Their bodies were dumped in mass graves at Ponary, outside the capital, Vilnius.
Then, in 1943, the Nazis forced a group of 80 Jews to exhume the bodies and burn them as they sought to hide the evidence of their horrific acts. Holocaust survivors have told how one member of the group, which became known as the Burning Brigade, had to dig up his wife and two sisters.
Assuming they would soon be killed, too, the prisoners spent 76 days digging a tunnel using their hands and objects recovered from the dead.
They eventually made their escape on April 15, 1944, heading through nearby woods.
However, of the 80 that came through the tunnel, only 12 escaped the Nazi forces. (ANI)