Fire destroys barracks at Majdanek former Nazi death camp
A fire that broke out overnight has destroyed a wooden barracks filled with the shoes of victims of the Majdanek Nazi death camp, in Lublin, eastern Poland, officials said.
"More than half of the barracks was burned. Inside there were about 10,000 shoes and the soles of shoes of prisoners, not on display because of their poor condition," a statement issued Tuesday by the museum on the site of the former camp said.
"The cause of the fire is not currently known, but an investigation is under way. A short-circuit remains the most likely explanation," the statement said.
The barracks, which had once housed the camp kitchen, was not accessible to visitors.
Nazi Germany operated the Majdanek death camp between 1941-1944. According to historians, 80,000 prisoners, including 60,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis there either in its gas chambers, by execution or died of hunger, disease or exhaustion from slave labour.
In total the Nazis held 150,000 people prisoner at Majdanek.
© 2010 AFP