A hidden Auschwitz ring was recently found in an unusual hiding place, and the find is generating buzz among historians because it is believed to have belonged to a victim of the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp. According to a report from the Associated Press, citing testimony from a museum spokesman, the woman’s gold ring and a necklace were discovered in the false bottom of a mug.
Both jewels were carefully wrapped in canvas in the double bottom of the cup and were found during maintenance of the enamel museum pieces. They are some of the last possessions held by someone deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the largest concentration camps established by the Germans during WWII, the museum said.
The Auschwitz Museum has a collection of 12,000 kitchen items such as cups, pots, bowls, kettles, and jugs. Most of these items were confiscated by Nazi soldiers when prisoners arrived at the death camp.
“It’s highly probable the mug belonged to a Jewish person who was brought to Auschwitz for extermination,” Piotr Cywinski, the director of Auschwitz Museum, said. “The find shows the person was aware the deportation could mean robbery, but also hoped the items could be useful in the future.”
Cywinksi also released the following statement regarding the rare find.
“The hiding of valuable items—repeatedly mentioned in the accounts of survivors, and which was the reason for ripping and careful search of clothes and suitcases in the warehouse for looted items—proves on the one hand the awareness of the victims as to the robbery nature of the deportation, but on the other hand it shows that the Jewish families constantly had a ray of hope that these items will be required for their future existence.”
The museum estimates that the pieces were manufactured between 1921 and 1931, but it is impossible to locate the owners because there is usually no documentation of these items.
“It turned out that one of the mugs has a double bottom,” explained Hanna Kubik of the museum’s Memorial Collections. “It was very well hidden; however, due to the passage of time, the materials underwent gradual degradation, and the second bottom separated from the mug.”
Seventy years after Allied forces liberated the Jews from the death camp, researchers have found a hidden Auschwitz ring which shows that families were not completely unaware where they were going and the conditions under which they would live. According to the BBC, the Nazis “incessantly lied” to the Jewish people being rounded up, saying they were being resettled and could take a small amount of luggage. Meanwhile, Nazi soldiers knew that in their luggage they would find “the last valuables of the deported families.” Many carried with them their most precious objects because the Germans’ promised them that they would be safe. However, upon arrival at the camp, the objects were confiscated and their owners were killed.
The museum says the jewelry will remain in its collection and will be displayed in a way that shows how it had been hidden.
Auschwitz concentration camp was comprised of German Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built by Nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps, Wikipedia writes. It was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime.
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