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WW2 mass graves found at Austrian hospital

HALL, Austria, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Mass graves recently found at an Austrian psychiatric hospital may hold the remains of Nazi euthanasia victims, officials said Tuesday.

At a news conference, officials from Hall Hospital said a commission will study the remains, try to identify them and to find out how they died, The Guardian reported. The graves were discovered during new construction, which has been stopped.

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The excavation is to begin in March when the ground will no longer be frozen.

About 220 people were buried at the hospital between 1942 and 1945, Oliver Seifert, a historian, said. He said Hall was not known to have been a center for the killing of those considered unfit, although patients from the hospital were sent elsewhere for extermination.

Seifert said a careful study of the hospital graves could determine whether euthanasia became so ingrained in the Nazi medical system that it was carried out on some scale in many hospitals.

"We know that murder was actively carried out at other psychiatric institutions, by overdosing patients, neglect or undernourishment," Seifert said.

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