A gold ring and necklace, hidden inside an enamel mug that the Nazis had confiscated from a family deported to the Auschwitz death camp, were found recently at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the museum has announced.
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The museum put the items on display on Tuesday.
Curators discovered during maintenance work that the mug had a double bottom concealing the jewelry.
“It was very well hidden; however, due to the passage of time, the materials underwent gradual degradation, and the second bottom separated from the mug,” said Hanna Kubik of the museum’s Memorial Collections. Tests of the items, including X-rays, revealed that these valuables were made in Poland between 1921 and 1931. Still, it is not known who owned them and what was their fate.
The rare discovery joins other findings that arise every few years at the site of the former death camp, despite the fact that 70 years have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz. The items are part of the belongings the Nazis allowed Jews to take with them when deporting them from their homes to the camp.
“The hiding of valuable items – repeatedly mentioned in the accounts of survivors, and which was the reason for ripping and careful search of clothes and suitcases in the warehouse for looted items – so-called ‘Kanada’ – proves on the one hand to the awareness of the victims as to the robbery nature of the deportation, but on the other hand it shows that the Jewish families constantly had a ray of hope that these items will be required for their existence,” said Piotr Cywieski, director of the Auschwitz Museum.
Unfortunately, in most cases, items like the ring and necklace remain without a home because no trail to their owners remains. The cup in which they were found belongs to a collection of more than 12,000 enameled kitchenware.