German police have handed a document containing a list of 619 Jewish names who were forced laborers in the Echterdingen Nazi work camp.
The Haaretz newspaper said on Sunday morning that the list was handed to Israel following the discovery of a mass grave in a Stuttgart suburb in which 34 skeletons were found.
The names of the 619 Jews are written on the list in exact handwriting, and their countries of origin also appear list.
The camp, which was active from November 1944 until February 1945, was scene to horrific brutality, with its Nazi staff routinely burning the prisoners.
Others died of starvation and disease.
On the left hand of the document is a column of numbers, and on the right appears the place of origin of each victim. The word Jude is written next to each name.
The list also shows the full names of the prisoners, along with their dates of birth, and their fate.
34 skeletons, 619 names
The list was received by Israel Police Interpol Unit Head, Chief Superintendent Asher Ben-Artzi, who received the document from Israel Police’s Berlin representative, Commander Shlomi Ayalon.
“We have started feeling our way around this,” Ben-Artzi told Ynet. “I very much hope that in the end we will track down people from the list. Today, I plan on talking with a very elderly Jewish man who lives in Holland, who survived the work camp. With his help we will get to other living witnesses and family members in Israel.”
Ben-Artzi added that the police are cooperating with Yad Vashem. “Not all of the people on the list have passed away, some were murdered by the Germans, some died of disease, and some were transferred to the Buchenwald concentration camp,” he said.
“On the one hand, we have 34 skeletons; on the other, we have 619 names. We are trying to find out if the people on the list have relatives in Israel.”
German police intend on taking DNA samples from the skeletons. At the same time, Israeli police will take DNA samples from relatives, in an attempt to ascertain whether the skeletons are those of Jews who were murdered in the camp.
Israel police may also bring the skeletons to Israel, in order to give them full Jewish burials.