Remains of a Soviet Remain of a Soviet Ilyushin Il-4 bomber were found after 73 years from it being shot down during World War 2 fights near the German death camp at Auschwitz, present-day Oświęcim, South Poland.
The remains were discovered in the area between Rajsko and Harmęż near Oświęcim. The machine is believed to have been shot down on January 19th, 1945. During World War 2 this area was part of a sub-camp of Auschwitz, called Harmense. The machine is believed to have taken part in bomb raids aiding the Red Army offensive, during which the Auschwitz German death camp was liberated. The place where the plane fell down is located less than 2 kilometres from the main Auschwitz II-Birkenau facility.
According to the researchers of Fundacja Pobliskie Miejsca Pamięci Auschwitz-Birkenau, who recovered the wreckage, there were no human remains discovered inside so far. The fate of the plane’s crew is unknown. The researchers believe that the plane was a part of the 18th Soviet Air Force that consisted of bombers aiding the 2nd and 8th Soviet Air Forces that took part in the offensive. The tale of the crashed airplane survived among the local citizens, and allowed to trace back the happening in German historical sources that described the exact date and model of the machine. It was determined that the Soviet bomber was shot down by an anti-aircraft gun battery of Flakgruppe Auschwitz stationed in Przecieszyn near Brzeszcz, around 7 kilometres away from Auschwitz. The exact site of the crash was unknown.
The metal parts became visible after draining water from one of the fish breeding ponds. The owned started to recall the local stories and connected the facts about the plane. Upon calling the researchers parts of the machine’s wings were identified. Local heritage office issued a permit for salvage fieldwork at the crash site located around 270 metres from the shore. The work was not easy as it involves walking through knee-deep silt. The fieldwork aimed at recovery of all parts of the machine are expected to last until the end of 2018.
(after TVN24 & Fundacja Pobliskie Miejsca Pamięci)