Who are the dead? (by Adam Mersch, translated by Diana Lambing)

At the exit point of Uihei towards Bogarosch the road forms a triangle between the pasture on one hand and the adjoining field on the other. The hypoteneuse of the triangle is formed by the road from the last street in Uihel to the cross. Why do I describe this spot in such detail? It was here in 1938 that the soldiers of the Romanian Army dug trenches against the Hungarians whose attack they feared. They came upon a burial ground which nobody knew about, which had not been mentioned in any chronicle and which could not be explained. There had been no settlement in this area. It was a mystery which could not be explained. But we can look at the facts more closely:



-  The skeletons are located about 200 metres away from the edge of the village.

-  They lie in layers of about five or six on top of each other and along a stretch of about 60 metres.

-  Skeletons of both adults and children were found.

-  On one child I found one of the forearms broken and which had healed in a deformed way. The breaks were not exactly on top of each other but had grown together sideways. This leads us to the conclusion that the fracture had not been treated by a qualified, experienced practitioner - neither by a healer, as was used by primitive people, or by a doctor (these were already practising in times long ago). Were these people so poor that they could not afford a professional, or were there no skilled practitioners available, or did circumstances not allow the use of such?

-  The very fact that the deaths occur in such quantities - their numbers could well exceed those of death by the plague or cholera epidemics - I refer to the neighbouring village of Bogarosch which had been founded in the 17th century. The two villages located immediately next to the burial ground had only been established 100 years earlier, so were out of the question. Mass deaths due to epidemics in these two villages can be ruled out as Neusiedel was founded only in 1843 and Alexanderhausen only 10 years earlier. There had been no epidemics and nor did the number of deaths correspond to such.

-  A second question arises here: Here we are dealing with a mass burial which would be unthinkable even in the event of an epidemic. Three or four people died daily in the village. In no way could these bodies have been preserved for a later mass burial as there would have been risk of disease and contamination. This refutes the hypothesis that the dead were victims of an epidemic.

-  The bodies were not buried with their heads facing Mecca, proving therby that they could not have been Muslims, i.e. Turks.

-  No accompanying burial objects were found; there weren't even any traces of clothing. No weapons or jewellery were found either. People who died in epidemics were assumedly buried in coffins.

-  The skeletons were neatly placed in about five tiers, which contradicts a hasty burial. The shafts of the bones were in reasonably good condition whilst the heads of the bones seemed already to be very porous. The dentures in the skulls examined were quite intact and I found no jaws with teeth missing. The teeth themselves were fairly worn down on the surface, which would probably indicate the rough age of the person, but which gives no clue to the age of the burial site. The bone marrow was dried to a sponge-like mass.

-  The top layer of skeletons lay at a depth of a maximum of 40 - 50 cms (16" - 20"). If one deducts about 10 cms (4") from this to allow for the natural drift of soil over time - the amount depends on the length of time that has passed, as well as the circumstances - there remains a covering of about 30 cms (12"). This leads us to the conclusion that the bodies were buried in a hurry.

-  In the Bogarosch chronicle there is no mention of a mass of deaths or of a mass burial as a result.

-  The burial site is located under the turf of a meadow. We know however from historical sources that this area has been grazing land since time immemorial. It must therefore be assumed that this piece of land remained undisturbed when Neusiedel was founded.

-  The burial site is about 100 metres from the waterhole from which earth was dug out and used for making bricks, and also used for filling up. One has to ask oneself why there were no skeletons found when the village was first established and when surely earth was dug up here too? Or did they just keep quiet about it and pass over it?

-  On the front side, i.e. the west, the farmland begins. Apparently, no skeletons were found here as it is inconceivable that at this shallow depth bones would not have come to the surface when ploughing.

-  One feature however is worth considering: About 100 metres to the south of the excavation site, right next to the ditch which borders onto the pasture and where the battery of the Wehrmacht artillery was in 1944, part of a vault had been exposed, the inside of which was also filled with earth. The bricks were rectangular but with different dimensions to the ones we know. The lengths were about 5 cms (2") more than the width. This ground was, so to speak, virgin soil and the grass covering over it may already have been several centuries old. So what did this vault hold? What sort of mystery does this edifice hide? It is unlikely that a tomb for privileged people was built just where a mass of bodies had been buried in a hurry. Or has the vault nothing to do with the mass grave? It would be immensely important to determine which time period the find belonged to.

It is difficult to ask bones which have been stripped of everything which bound them to this world. They no longer hear, they no longer see, they no longer move, they are silent. An age determination using the Carbon 12 method would be possible but is too expensive and unaffordable to individuals. Official bodies that were asked showed no interest. No piece of wood, no ceramic or any other object to serve as a guide. Perhaps things will indeed be found which could be used as a key to the secret. One would have to continue digging. But no-one will do it because the world is too focused on itself. So it will remain a mystery and the past will spread a veil of oblivion over a terrible secret which cost so many people their lives.


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