The Skeleton Key

Kassel is no longer know for it's Documenta. Big news in Germany, none of it has really siphoned through to other European countries.
I think this is an interesting story. Not because of the body count, but it is amazing to see how many historians have different theories at this stage as to when, what and who. It will be the epitome of scientific and historic research to have just one or two theories standing after some initial digging (and yes you can interpret that in two ways, I have plenty of time to include more silly puns in this post). The scientific facts (dating of the bones, analyzing earth samples etc) cannot be disputed, but painting the historical picture will be an entirely different thing. First up: The C-14 dating on the bones will help historians narrow down the timeframe. It will be an extra puzzle if the second burial site turns out be from a different era.
But the article contradicts itself stating that everyone seems to agree that the bones are pre WW II and a bit further down it says that the most likely theory seems something to do with the War. And then again it quotes a local historian saying it can't possibly be connected with WW II. Germany is still facing up to its heritage. It has only been very recently a plethora of German historians have been investigating their past, we can see a considerable increase in historic publications on pre and post war Germany from within the country. But I can imagine the first logical assumption people make is a mass grave from WW II, because there were some recent finds in Menden (September 2006) and Stuttgart (September 2005).

So theories/unconfirmed facts so far:
-victims of an epidemic in 1814
-military hospital graveyard
-initial estimates >100 years
-good teeth, not old people
-until Tuesday assumed graveyard, bodies in neat rows
-second grave site: jumbled bodies, 4 skulls, one torso, badly battered.
-no rings, no jewelry, no buttons
-WW II slave laborers
-burial site for criminals, suicides and peopled not christened.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Updates will follow. When the dust settles after the media circus quits town, the interesting and correct facts will start to emerge.

No comments: