This past September, an expert crew of archeologists completed a decades-long goal of reaching a rare artifact buried deep below the ground. The object, which was a military facility the Polish town of Zlocieniec, formerly Falkenburg, was known to have been there since the building was opened in 1934.
To reach it, crews had to dig 20 feet underground, wade through standing water, avoid old land mines, and finally plow through a thick wall of concrete. It was no small feat!
So what was it that was worth so much work and so much waiting? A time capsule full of rare pieces of history. The real story, however, is who left it there…
Since 1934, a small, black time capsule had been buried 20 feet underneath a military facility in the Polish town of Zlocieniec. In September 2016—82 years after it was put there—researchers were finally able to excavate it.
In order to reach the time capsule, crews had to wade through standing water, dodge land mines, break through a thick layer of concrete, and eventually hack the darn thing open with a chainsaw.
Once open—a week after they’d dug it up—the contents of the time capsule began to spill out. Each item offered a rare and valuable glimpse into the past eight decades.
Just who had left the time capsule there, though? No, it wasn’t anyone you might have suspected. It was actually buried by the facility’s previous occupants—and history’s most notorious villains: the Nazis.
The military facility, which is now a Polish military barracks, was created as a training space for the German soldiers. Now, the pieces of the past they left behind have been revealed.
Unlike many of the more obvious artifacts of Nazi occupation that were left, this particular time capsule’s contents provided a look into the average day-to-day routine of the soldiers stationed there.
The man who led the excavation team, Dr. Marcin Peterleitner, was impressed by how perfectly preserved the numerous objects inside were. That was no small miracle for the researchers.
Inside were many newspapers from the time, as well as two copies of Adolf Hitler’s 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf. There was also a book that documented 600 years of the Polish town’s history.
Also inside was a Nazi badge, envelopes filled with coins, letters, and photographs. Altogether, the contents are not worth a terrible amount of money, but their historical value was still high.
Once teams of researchers took a long look at each item, the time capsule contents were taken to the National Museum in Szczecin. They have yet to be fully inventoried.
To think, all of these pieces of a tumultuous time in history were there for so many years. Undoubtedly, the Nazis who placed them there must have thought the capsule would have been opened to a totally different (and more Aryan) world.
It’s remarkable how perfectly those items were all preserved. They really do offer a unique glimpse into a specific time in history.
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