Hidden Auschwitz Message Hailed as Rare Find

From Yahoo! News:

OSWIECIM, Poland – A note hidden in a bottle by Auschwitz prisoners 65 years ago in a desperate attempt to preserve a small piece of themselves was added Wednesday to the archives of the Polish state-run museum dedicated to the memory of the former Nazi death camp’s victims.

Museum Director Piotr Cywinski hailed the document — a list of the names of seven camp inmates that was discovered last month — as a rare discovery and a cause for celebration, given that at least three of the prisoners are still living today.

“This is a very clear sign of hope,” Cywinski said. “These young people put the message in a bottle to leave a sign. But not only the bottle survived — some of them also survived. This is very moving.”

The note, written in pencil on a scrap from a cement bag, was discovered by a construction crew renovating a cellar that was used by Nazis during World War II as a bunker and place to store food. The building is now on the grounds of a vocational school in Oswiecim, a town the Nazis called Auschwitz, whose director handed the note over to Cywinski in a ceremony.

One of the survivors, Waclaw Sobczak, recalled that he and his fellow inmates never expected to survive the camp and wanted to leave behind a trace of their lives.

“We did it so a sign of us would remain after we died,” said Sobczak, a diminutive 85 year old with thick white hair. “It was very risky and we had to be very careful putting it in the wall. We wanted at least our names and numbers to be left behind.”