For 70 years, the mug pictured above held a secret: a necklace and gold ring, stored in a false bottom in a successful attempt to hide the valuables from the Germans during World War II.
Officials at the Auschwitz Museum announced this week that they had discovered the false bottom after doing some routine work on the artifact collection. Decades of deterioration had worked the false bottom free. Inside they found a necklace, as well this ring:
Officials said it’s probably impossible to know who the owner is, since the mug doesn’t appear to have any identifying features, though he or she was almost certainly an inmate at the concentration camp where over a million were slaughtered.
“The hiding of valuable items … shows that the Jewish families constantly had a ray of hope,” Piotr M. A. Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, said in a statement.
That hope, Cywiński said, was inspired by an intentional lie—if the Nazis could convince Jews that they were being relocated, instead of being sent to die, it made it more likely that they would bring their valuables with them to concentration camps, where they would be seized.
But this mug shows that the Nazis got far from everything. New valuables, in fact, are turning up all the time, Cywiński said.