Nazi war crime probe launched from mystery photos
Germany's central Nazi war crimes body said on Tuesday it had launched an inquiry after an envelope with photos of killings in the Soviet Union in World War II was handed in anonymously.
"In total there are 50 photos, some of which show very drastic deaths, such as hangings, as well as corpses on the ground and bodies piled into German army trucks," spokesman Andreas Brendel said.
"There are German army soldiers in some of the photos but it is unclear if they are also the perpetrators of these killings."
He said that it was also unclear whether the victims were Jews or other local civilians or Soviet prisoners of war. The photos were taken in the summer or autumn of 1941 after Germany invaded Russia in Operation Barbarossa.
"This is the first time that an investigation of this kind has been launched," said Mr Brendel, head of the central Nazi war crimes body and a public prosecutor in the western city of Dortmund.
A note accompanying the photos when they were handed in in January 2010 said that they were found during renovation work on a house in the town of Eschweiler in the early 1960s, he added.