Local historians and excavators in Ukraine have uncovered hidden places in underground sewers in the city of Lviv, which were allegedly used by Jews escaping from the Nazi army during World War II.
The first documented mention of these hiding places was in a book by father-daughter duo Ignacy and Christina Chiger, who fled the Jewish ghetto from Nazi clutches in the 1940s. This mention prompted local historian Hannah Tychka to begin the search for the tunnel that helped some Jews survive the Holocaust.
The Chigger family was among the few who escaped mass murders by digging a tunnel into the city’s sewage system and living there in 1943–44. According to official estimates, more than 100,000 people were killed by the Nazis, about a third of the city’s population at the time, in one of the largest human tragedies ever recorded during the Holocaust.
Local diggers and Ms. Tychka recently unearthed the exact area with the help of Chiggers’ book. In their desperate attempt, the family demolished a 90 cm thick concrete sewer wall and dug a seven-metre-long tunnel that took them from the ghetto to the underground sewer pipe.
“They had to work quietly so that the Nazis would not know that there was excavation activity going on in the basement of the barracks,” said Ms Tychka Reuters. “The Jews used a hammer wrapped in a duster.”
Of the total 21 people who ran towards the underground sewer, only 10 survived. One of them was Helena Wind Preston, a woman in her 20s at the time. His son David Lee Preston confirmed that the conditions in the Black Tunnel were not conducive to extended human existence.
Amid the threat of being captured by the Nazis, many in the group could not stand the long terms and left.
Mr Preston said the group was forced to suffocate a child born to a woman in the group because they feared her cry would replace Nazi soldiers. The woman’s husband was swept away when he had gone out to arrange drinking water for his family.
Ms Tychka and her team discovered objects such as rusted plates used for lanterns and carbide marks in the tunnel system, which they believe were used by fleeing families. They also found a pipe that they believe families use for drinking water.
On Wednesday, Ukraine marked the 80th anniversary of the mass shooting of civilians in Babylon Yar in Kiev that claimed the lives of nearly 34,000 people over a two-day period, in the largest massacre of Jews during the Holocaust. was one of More mass shootings occurred at the site during World War II.
Organizers have used modern technologies such as advertising on Ukraine’s Tinder, modern art installations and online gaming to attract visitors to the memorial site. “Touch the tragedy of babein yaar,” the ad said, inviting users to visit the site, according to the new York Times.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to unveil a modern art installation at the site on Wednesday.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /