Battlefield bounty hunters: the detectorists of eastern Europe

In the quiet of the forest, Aleksander holds a rusted pistol and turns it over. Others gather round to admire the handgun, each feeling its weight before shooting an imaginary bullet into the trees. More detritus of war is placed on a picnic table – a swastika-adorned badge, shards of shrapnel, a Soviet medal inscribed “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” The remnants of fallen regimes.

The men are among the thousands of detectorists across eastern Europe hunting for relics of the Red Army, the Third Reich and Imperial Russia. Beneath ploughed field and remote woodland is buried treasure from a turbulent, vanishing past. Even today, the war dead lie in these lands. Sometimes bodies are found.

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  • ntt1

    on the one hand they are probably an asset in locating lost remains and getting the remains home, on the other hand I would worry the artifacts help build a market for nazi paraphernalia

  • vwVwwVwv

    It is disgusting, you can find the remains on privat markets in Russia.
    I have a friend who got on such a market the dog tags of his grandfather,
    a Russian red army soldier who went missing in action. No one knew
    where they recovered him, if someone may have his skull as decoration
    at home or something.

    This guys are like cemetery burglars they should be arrested.
    They will demolish not only important historical evidence
    but also the remains of 10.000’s of fallen man.

    My grandfather lost 9 brothers and a unknown but large number relatives
    in this war, watching this I could ramm the bayonet’s in the skull of
    each of this bastards. Immoral dirty post socialist retarde’s!

    • UCSPanther

      It is said that it is bad mojo to disturb graves for wanton purposes or for profit…

      • vwVwwVwv

        This are no Graves, this are body’s of soldiers which have not been recovered.
        As it is forbidden in Russia and punished harsh, they destroy the remains…….
        It’s disgusting.

        • Frances

          In the article, it specifically states that the one mass grave site found was reported to the authorities so the remains could be repatriated.

          • vwVwwVwv

            Yes of curse, they say it, I know it better, there is a reason why they don’t want to be recognized. Of curse they report a mass grave, but
            many soldiers hav not been recovered?

            Russian and Ukrainian soil is wet and muddy, when the frost is over we call it Rasputiza.
            Once something or somebody falls in the mud you have hard time to recognize he lays there. See the ground in the video and this is the optimal time to search, most of the
            Year it’s much worse than this.

            In winter the ground is frozen they diden’t burry at all.
            I know my Russians, yes the mass graves they report, may be but abandoned,
            Overrun do positions they plunder and the man who died there never get a grave.