Human Remains From Nazi Death Camp Found in Lower Hudson Valley
Human remains from a Nazi death camp were recently discovered in the Hudson Valley.
The Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern is currently closed for renovations.
Recently while working on new archiving software and revitalizing the museum, historians found a dirty, small, cigar box made of plastic that was starting to leak its contents.
The box had been with the museum for many years and was never opened. It was listed as a box of dirt and ashes with a question mark.
"Nobody had opened it. Nobody wanted to touch it," Abigail Miller, the museum’s education director and in-house historian, told the Jewish Standard. “But we had to figure out what it was. We had to know if it was human remains, and if it was human remains, we had to figure out what to do with it."
A crematorium in New Jersey confirmed the box contained human remains.
Turns out the box, which had been stored in the museum's archives for years and contained remnants of remains from an extermination camp in Poland.
“The box apparently was given to the museum many years ago, as part of a larger collection of very important items,” Julie Golding, the museum’s curator and Jewish learning specialist, said to the Jewish Standard. “The donor had been in the Lodz ghetto and in Auschwitz; he gave us a number of items that he’d gotten after the war.”
The box was donated by a local survivor who has since passed away. The museum knows who the donor is, but the donor's family has decided to keep the name private.
The family told the museum their father was the survivor of the Lodz ghetto but his whole family was murdered in Chelmno. It's believed he went back to Chelmno after the war and collected the ashes.
The DNA is gone from the ashes so it's unclear how many people the ashes came from or who they were.
After taking some time and working with local rabbis, the museum decided the ashes will be buried on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Monsey Jewish Cemetery with a memorial reception at the museum to follow.
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