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Researchers in Ukraine find hiding places in sewers used by Jews during WWII

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Beneath the cobbled streets of Lviv, Ukrainian researchers have discovered new hiding places in the city’s underground sewage system that housed Jews fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust, according to a report released Tuesday.

Researchers discovered a small cave which they said had been used by the fleeing Jews in 1943 on their first night before moving to a larger shelter, Reuters reported.

The larger cave was strewn with artifacts that researchers say were used by the Hidden Families. The items included a corroded plaque, a figurine of a sheep and traces of carbide used for the lanterns, according to the report.

More than 100,000 Jews, about a third of the city’s population at the time, were killed by the Nazis, local historian Hanna Tychka told the news agency.

Tychka explained that some of those who managed to escape, including father and daughter Ignacy and Krystyna Chiger, managed to dig into the sewage system of the Jewish ghetto.

She said Chiger dug a seven-meter-long (23 toot) tunnel from his ghetto barracks, shattering the concrete wall of the sewer, which was about 90 centimeters (35 inches) thick.

Researchers are seen inside the sewage system under Lviv, Ukraine, September 25, 2021. (Screen capture: Youtube)

Twenty-one people had fled into the sewers, but only 10, including the Chigers and a woman named Halina Wind Preston, survived, her son, David Lee Preston, said. Some left due to conditions in the sewers.

In a tragic incident, a baby born to one of the women in the group, whose husband was swept away by the water, had to be suffocated for fear her crying would reveal their location, according to Preston.

The remaining group left their hiding places when the city was taken over by the Soviet army in 1944, according to the report.

The discovery comes as Ukraine recently celebrated the 80th anniversary of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews in the Babi Yar Ravine just outside of Kiev on September 29 and 30, 1941.

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