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Poland Digs Up a Nazi Time Capsule

It contained a lot of your typical time capsule stuff—plus some pictures of Hitler.

Inside the time capsule. (Photo: Zlocieniec)

What do a group of Nazis put in a time capsule?

In 1934, in the Polish town of Zlocieniec, then part of Germany, Hitler’s Nazi party was putting up a new building, to house a school for future Nazi leaders. In the foundation, likely in April of 1934, they placed a time capsule.

Archaeologists have known for years that the time capsule was there, but they had little idea of what was inside and no way of accessing it. Recently, though, they were able to work past the concrete to retrieve a copper cylinder, soldered shut, that had been buried there for more than 80 years. 

Often, the contents of time capsules end up as soggy messes, but this one was well constructed. The researchers used a small saw to open the capsule, and starting pulling out photos, letters, an invitation to the building’s opening, and newspapers. There were coins and a book about the town’s history—standard time capsule fare.

But, this being a Nazi time capsule, it also contained two copies of Mein Kampf and photos of Hitler.

It would be another five years before World War II started; after the war, the town was part of the territory given to Poland. The building is now used as a military building by Polish armed forces.