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Hidden treasures likely owned by Jews 80 years ago unearthed in Poland

Many suspect the hundreds of items construction crews dug up in Lodz, Poland belonged to Jews who were hiding their valuables from the Germans.
Posted at 8:43 PM, Jan 17, 2023

Hundreds of items — a treasure trove of silver, menorahs, candle sticks, makeup jars and tableware — were discovered underground in a wooden box during a renovation of a home in Lodz, Poland.

The items were likely hidden generations ago by their Jewish owners, who probably hoped to one day retrieve them but never could. 

Parts of Lodz, the third largest city in Poland, was used by occupying Nazi Germans during World War II to hold some 200,000 Jews.

While the building owners haven't been identified, the local deputy mayor said, "Most likely these people lost their lives."

An inspector for the company doing foundation work described the discovery just outside of what was known as the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, saying the silver-plated treasures were wrapped in newspapers in a partially disassembled wooden box.

In a tweet, the deputy mayor Adam Pustelnik declared "a find like this comes along once in a decade."

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It's unclear why the owners buried the items, but Germans, as a way to strip Jews of their assets as well as enrich themselves, looted valuables from private collections and public museums throughout the war. The Polish government has estimated the value of stolen treasures taken or destroyed at $20 billion.

The find comes as Poland and other nations invaded by Germany are seeking reparations: money to cover economic and human losses suffered as they were attacked and plundered by the Nazis.

In September, the Polish government said it is seeking $1.4 trillion in reparations from Germany. Poland's deputy foreign minister said Germany has already rejected the demand, telling the Polish press agency, "This answer, to sum it up, shows an absolutely disrespectful attitude towards Poland and Poles."

This year though, Germany has promised to pay out more than $1 billion in claims from Holocaust survivors around the world as part of a fund established 70 years ago.

Since then, Germany has paid more than $80 billion worth of claims.

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