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Join archeologists, geologists, and engineers as they uncover the truth about an astonishing story—told by a handful of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust—of a secret escape tunnel, dug by hand, in these video excerpts from NOVA: Holocaust Escape Tunnel. Using new technologies, scientists were not only able to locate the tunnel, they also were able to reveal the extent of Nazi atrocities in Vilna, Lithuania—once a vibrant center of Jewish life and culture. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.
Using a new imaging tool—electrical resistivity tomography (ERT)—two geophysicists investigate an area that they suspect was a burial pit in Lithuania during the Holocaust, in this excerpt from NOVA: Holocaust Escape Tunnel. Using hundreds of electrical impulses to measure how soil conducts electricity, ERT scans the ground and creates a map that identifies disturbances in the soil—without disrupting the ground. These changes in the soil would indicate activity, such as a mass grave. Archeologists were able to confirm the location of a site where thousands of people, mostly Jews, were killed and buried by the Nazis. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.
Learn how scientists discovered a Holocaust escape tunnel at the Lithuanian site, Ponar using noninvasive techniques, in this NOVA Next article. Vilnius, Lithuania, was once home to over 100,000 Jews. However, during the Holocaust, 95 percent of Lithuanian Jews were killed. In 1944, 80 prisoners attempted to escape a mass burial pit through a hand-dug tunnel. Only 11 people survived; however, the story of their escape has been passed down through oral histories. The exact location of the tunnel remained a mystery until 2016. Advances in archaeological technology allowed researchers to search the area without disturbing the burial sites. This resource is part of the NOVA Next Collection.