Page last updated at 22:58 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 23:58 UK

Builders find Auschwitz message

File photo of former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, March 2009
More than a million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Builders working near the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have found a message in a bottle written by prisoners, museum officials say.

The message, written in pencil and dated 9 September 1944, bears names, camp numbers and home towns of seven young inmates from Poland and France.

At least two survived the Nazi camp, an Auschwitz museum official said.

The bottle was buried in a concrete wall in a school that prisoners had been compelled to reinforce.

The school's buildings, a few hundred metres from the camp, were used as warehouses by the Nazis, who wanted them protected against air raids.

Museum experts have checked the authenticity of the note, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Six of the prisoners were from Poland and one was from France, AP said.

"All of them are between the ages of 18 and 20," the final sentence of the note reads.

An Auschwitz museum spokesman said the authors of the note "were young people who were trying to leave some trace of their existence behind them".

The Nazis murdered some 1.1 million people at Auschwitz - mainly European Jews, but also non-Jewish Poles, Roma (Gypsies) and others.

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