Religious objects, such as crucifixes and medallions, helped experts identify the victims.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science

March 5, 2021

Archaeologists recently unearthed the skeletons of three Catholic nuns who were murdered by Soviet soldiers at the end of World War II. Their discovery concludes a months-long search for the bones of seven nuns who were killed during the former Soviet Union’s brutal occupation of the war-torn country. 

Russia’s Red Army invaded Poland in 1944, as Nazi Germany withdrew their soldiers. During that time, Soviet forces sought to seize control by suppressing Polish militia and religious figures, imprisoning, deporting and killing Polish soldiers, clergy and civilians. Records from 1945 documented Soviet soldiers slaughtering seven nuns in the order of St. Catherine of Alexandria, representatives of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) told Live Science in an email.

To find out where these murdered nuns were buried, archaeologists first excavated a site in Gdańsk in July 2020, where they found the remains of Sister Charytyna (Jadwiga Fahl), according to a statement from the IPN. An excavation in Olsztyn in October revealed what are thought to be the remains of Sister Generosa (Maria Bolz), Sister Krzysztofora (Marta Klomfass) and Sister Liberia (Maria Domnik), all of whom were nurses at Olsztyn’s St. Mary’s Hospital.

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