Archive footage shows liberation of Auschwitz concentration campIBTimes UK

Over 16,000 personal items belonging to the victims of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, are being returned to the Auschwitz museum memorial. Originating from archaeological works that were carried out in the gas chamber and crematorium II in 1967, the items have been recently rediscovered in a depot of the Academy of Science.

Set up in 1940 by occupying German forces near the town of Oswiecim in what is now southern Poland, Auschwitz became the centrepiece in Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution" plan to exterminate the Jews.

Women, men and children, mostly Jewish, but also Russians, Romani, Poles and homosexuals from all over Nazi-occupied Europe were transported to Auschwitz in overcrowded cattle trains. When they arrived at the camp, they faced a selection process. SS doctors decided which prisoners were suitable for labour and which should be killed immediately. The elderly and women with children were killed in the camp's gas chambers using the pesticide Zyklon B .

Auschwitz saw 1.1 million people, mostly Jews murdered and became one of the Nazi's largest death camps.

Auschwitz belongings
A cup reinforced with rusty wire, one of thousands of objects found in 1967 near the crematorium number 3 on the site of Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau.Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum

The belongings serve as a personal testimony to the victims. It is thought that the items were the last link with the world before the prisoners were murdered in the gas chambers.

The humble but heart-rending objects include letters, keys, cups, games and watches. A statement released from the Auschwitz museum has stated that the items will be "thoroughly documented, and checked in terms of their state and preservation". The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has decided to launch the emergency funding for possible conservation work on these objects.

'This is an unexpected, totally unique day in the newest history of our Museum' museum director, Piotr M. A. Cywiński said.

Auschwitz belongings
Bottle plugs with the name of the brewery still readable Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
The keys of victims' homesPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
Fragments of a lost worldPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
Time to die: A pocket watch found near the crematorium number 3 on the site of Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz Birkenau.Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
A perfume bottlePawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
DominoesPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
A stamp – possibly to mark books in the library or for some similar usePawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
A box with the excavated object – each one was put in an envelope with a detailed descriptionPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz
American surveillance photo of Birkenau, 1944
Auschwitz
Prisoner identity photographs of Polish inmate Czesława Kwoka in Auschwitz in 1942 or 1943Wilhelm Brasse.
auschwitz
A pile of human bones and skulls is seen in 1944 at the Majdanek camp on the outskirts of Lublin, the second largest death camp in German-occupied Poland after Auschwitz, following its liberation in 1944 by Soviet troopsAFP
Auschwitz
Child survivors of Auschwitz, wearing adult-size prisoner jackets, stand behind a barbed wire fence after the camp was liberated, 1945Alexander Voronzow/ Belarusian State Archive
Auschwitz belongings
BinocularsPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
BeadsPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
A thimblePawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
A pawn from a chess boardPawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum
Auschwitz belongings
Pawel Sawicki/ Auschwitz Museum