Staff at the Auschwitz museum have uncovered jewellery secretly hidden in an enamel mug since the liberation of the wartime Nazi death camp in 1945.
The mug, one of thousands of kitchenware items seized by Nazi guards from those deported to the camp in southern Poland during World War II, was found to have an inside double bottom, under which a gold ring and necklace wrapped in a piece of canvas were hidden.
The objects, believed to have been made in Poland between 1921 and 1931, were discovered during maintenance of the museum’s enamelled kitchenware exhibits.
“When I picked up this mug, it turned out that there were hidden objects inside,” museum staffer Hanna Kubik said.
Tests have shown the items are made of gold and they bear a seal used in Poland from 1921-31.
The false base bears a Polish company name, but there are no signs to help identify the owner.
Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.5m people, most of them Jews, were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.
Those sent there had belongings taken away upon arrival, many of which are on display today.
Many hid valuables inside, items the museum says are still being discovered years later.
However, their owners often remain anonymous.
The museum, which says it has more than 12,000 enamelled kitchen items like cups, pots, bowls, kettles, and jugs in its memorials collection, said the jewellery would now be stored in “in the form reflecting the manner in which it had been hidden by the owner.”
A spokesman for the Auschwitz Museum says a Polish-made golden ring and chain have been found hidden under the false base of an enameled mug that must have belonged to a victim of the Nazis’ death camp.
Piotr Sawicki says “it is highly probable that the mug belonged to a Jewish person brought to Auschwitz for extermination.”
“We can see the fear of the person because they hid the jewellery. It means that they knew about the robbery,” Sawicki said.
“But in a way we also see the hope that the person had [for their survival].”
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