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Skeletal remains found at former Hitler base 'too decayed to be identified'

Tourists visit the ruins of Adolf Hitler's headquarters the "Wolf's Lair" in Gierloz, northeastern Poland.
Tourists visit the ruins of Adolf Hitler's headquarters the "Wolf's Lair" in Gierloz, northeastern Poland. Copyright AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
Copyright AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
By Euronews with AP
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Members of Hitler's chief of staff made an unsuccessful attempt on his life at the Wolf's Lair on July 20, 1944.

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Polish prosecutors have ended an investigation into human skeletons found at a site where German dictator Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders spent time during World War II because their advanced decay made it impossible to determine the cause of death, a spokesperson said Monday.

The remains were found on 24 February at Wolf's Lair, which served as Hitler's main headquarters for the Eastern Front between 1941-44, when Poland was occupied by Germany. The discovery sparked interest in the identity of those found, yet further investigation failed due to the conditions of the remains and the passage of time.

The spokesman for the prosecutor's office in the nearby town of Kętrzyn, Daniel Brodowski, said police officers secured the remains after they were found by a local group, Latebra, which searches for historical objects.

A forensic medical expert examined them under the supervision of the prosecutor's office, which was trying to determine if manslaughter had occurred. Brodowski said in a statement that the investigation was discontinued in late March due to a lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.

"The expert stated that the preserved bone remains were of human origin and came from at least four people, three of whom were most likely middle-aged men, and the fourth was a child several years of age whose sex cannot be determined," Brodowski wrote.

Hidden in deep woods, the compound consisted of about 200 Nazi bunkers and military barracks. At its peak, some 2,000 people lived there, including food tasters meant to prevent Hitler from being poisoned.

Notably, the Wolf's Lair was the site of the failed assassination attempt on Hitler by Colonel Claus Stauffenberg and others on 20 July 1944, known as Operation Valkyrie. The site is now a tourist attraction.

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