Two mass graves containing scores of people murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War have been found underneath an army football pitch in Austria, government officials said on Friday.
Some of the remains may be the bodies of US pilots shot down and imprisoned during the war.
Police Col. Rudolf Gollia, an interior ministry spokesman, said his ministry plans talks with the owners of the site to discuss exhumation.
The mass graves are located in bomb craters underneath the army sports field in the southern city of Graz. Officials said they contain about 70 bodies of victims killed by the SS to eliminate witnesses to Nazi atrocities shortly before Soviet troops arrived.
The graves were identified from wartime photos, made from US bombers, showing open graves and bodies.
A statement on the Austrian army website said up to 219 people were massacred at the location during the final days of the Second World War in an attempt to cover up atrocities committed there.
The site originally contained hundreds of victims but many were moved by the officer in charge of the wartime facility out of fears that he would be found responsible for the killing. The exhumation and reburials were stopped, however, because of the approach of the Soviet Army.
While the relocated bodies were subsequently found and given a proper burial, about 70 of the dead remained unaccounted until the discovery of the graves.
The army statement said that the investigation also established the identities of two suspected perpetrators who subsequently fled to Germany and could still be alive. It gave no details as to the suspect’s identities.