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Professor Richard Freund's Discovery Makes International News


Posted 07/07/2016
Posted by Meagan Fazio


A discovery by Professor of Jewish History Richard Freund is attracting attention from media outlets around the world. Freund and an international team of archaeologists recently found a 100-foot-long underground tunnel made by 80 Jews who attempted a courageous escape from the extermination pits at Paneriai, Lithuania in 1944. Only 11 prisoners lived to tell the story of digging for 76 nights using only their hands, spoons and crude handmade tools. Although the location of the tunnel's entrance was known, the exact site of the escape tunnel, located near the city of Vilnius, remained a mystery until early June.

Calling it one of the “great Jewish escapes” of the Holocaust, Freund, who also is director of the University’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, likens the discovery to finding a very well-known needle in a haystack. Using noninvasive archaeological methods to protect the sanctity of the resting places of the approximately 100,000 people buried there, Freund and the team found the tunnel, as well as previously unknown burial pits in the forest adjacent to the site.

The story of this discovery appeared in hundreds of news outlets around the world. At one point, it was trending on Facebook and was featured on the Yahoo! homepage. Following is sampling of this extensive coverage:

Wednesday, July 29:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

"Israel: Dug By Jews, Tunnel From Nazi Era Found in Lithuania"
THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Escape Tunnel, Dug by Hand, Is Found at Holocaust Massacre Site”

USA TODAY

“Tunnel used by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazis found in Lithuania”

BBC

“WW2 Jewish escape tunnel uncovered in Lithuania’s Ponar forest”

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

“Jewish Escape Tunnel Found in Lithuania”

WASHINGTON POST

“Researchers find tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazi death squads in Lithuania”

DAILY MAIL
“Passage out of hell: Tunnel dug using spoons and hands by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazi death squads is rediscovered at site of mass execution”

JERUSALEM POST

“Famous Holocaust escape tunnel in Lithuania using hi-tech”

GIZMODO
“Historic Holocaust Escape Tunnel Discovered in Lithuania”

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

“New tech reveals forgotten Holocaust escape tunnel in Lithuania”

Thursday, June 30

NPR
"Researchers Uncover Long-Lost Tunnel Used By Jews To Escape Extermination Pits"

WASHINGTON POST

"Seventy years after the Holocaust, researchers have located the tunnel that brought 11 Jews to freedom"

YAHOO!

"Jewish Escape Tunnel Uncovered at Nazi Massacre Site"

HUFFINGTON POST

"Secret Tunnel Built By Jewish Prisoners To Escape Nazis Found"

SLATE

"Technology Let Archaeologists Uncover Jewish History Without Disturbing It"

Friday, July 1

JEWISH LEDGER

"Holocaust escape tunnel found in Lithuania"

Saturday, July 2

HARTFORD COURANT

"UHart Archaeologist Discovers Holocaust Escape Tunnel In Lithuania"