Dozens of executed WW2 German soldiers possibly found in France

Excavations at the site in Corrèze are set to begin next month

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The burial site of nearly 50 German soldiers executed by resistance fighters in World War Two may have been discovered in Corrèze.

After a resistance fighter broke his 70-year silence on the executions, a team of researchers used ground-penetrating radar to search the area for signs.

Read more: Search begins in France to find 47 executed German soldiers

The search has seemingly come to fruition, with the team believing they have discovered a “pit” containing remains, said the Corrèze prefecture.

“The results of this soil analysis campaign seem conclusive. At one of the two sites investigated, a change in the density of the soil was observed … possibly corresponding to a pit,” it said.

Search organised after testimony

The search was organised after the revelations of Mr Réveil, who as a young adult joined the resistance movement in rural France against the German invasion.

After the Normandy (D-Day) landings in June 1944, a number of battles took place in and around Corrèze by resistance members capitalising on the chaos and looking to aid Allied forces by disrupting German troops.

After resistance fighters captured Tulle, Corrèze, a German division recaptured the town and executed nearly 100 locals, hanging them from their balconies to warn resistance members against further activity.

Resistance fighters nearby retaliated however and managed to capture a squadron of German troops, numbering 47 men, alongside one female French woman who worked for the Gestapo.

Unable to feed or guard the troops, Mr Réveil’s unit was forced to execute and leave them, with he and his fellow soldiers bound to secrecy over the act.

He revealed his story to the local mayor, giving information about what he believed to be the burial site after being the last one in his unit left alive.

Historians always knew the executions took place but were unaware of the size or location of the event.

Second phase of search next month

Now the pit has possibly been located, a second phase of the search will begin next month.

This will include excavation of the site, carried out by archaeologists and specialists picked by the Office national des anciens combattants et victimes de guerre.

They are also joined by the Volksbund deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge or German War Graves Commission.

Any remains that are dug up in the excavation will be sent to the Institute of Anthropology in Marseille, before being either sent back to the descendants of the executed soldiers or buried in a German cemetery in France.

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