For the past decade, archaeologists have been conducting excavations at Sobibor, Poland—one of the most notorious German Nazi death camps. Now the latest dig has yielded a surprising artefact, a rare pendant that looks just like one Anne Frank used to own.
The pendant bears the word Frankfurt and the date 3 July 1929, as well as the words Mazal Tov, the Hebrew letter for the name of God, and three Stars of David. It was uncovered by a team of archaeologists together with several other personal items, including jewellery and a woman’s watch.
According to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial experts, the pendant likely belonged to a girl named Karoline Cohn. Both she and Anne Frank were born in Frankfurt in 1929. Cohn was deported from Frankfurt to Minsk on 11 November 1941, although her final resting place is unknown.
No other such pendants have ever been found, thus the researchers believe there’s a chance the two girls had a familial connection. They are currently looking for remaining relatives to find out more about the potential link.
The Nazis looted anything of value from the Jews and occupied countries. April 7th 1945 the US army finds their secret stash in the Kaiseroda salt mine in Merkers.
More than 200,000 people were killed at Sobibor extermination camp. In 1943 Germans closed the camp, bulldozed the location and planted trees over it to conceal the crime.
However, the place has since become an important source of historical knowledge about the Holocaust. Archaeological work has yielded many personal items of the victims, as well as remains of buildings, gas chambers and a train platform.
Researchers explain that all findings at Sobibor are an important contribution to the documentation of Holocaust.
“In this way, we ensure that the memory of the people killed there will never be forgotten,” says Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Yoram Haimi.
“This pendant demonstrates once again the importance of archaeological research of former Nazi death camp sites. The moving story of Karoline Cohn is symbolic of the shared fate of the Jews murdered in the camp.”
Header image: Both sides of Karoline Cohn's pendant found at Sobibor, image courtesy Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research.