British archaeologist Caroline Sturdy Colls compares her work on the sites of Nazi atrocities to a police inquiry.
“This is an investigation into historic crime, but crime that still has relevance for people today,” explains the Staffordshire University professor. “You wouldn’t conduct a police investigation only looking at witness testimony.”
For Sturdy Colls, who has worked on Holocaust and genocide sites throughout Europe, including Treblinka, it is the bringing together of physical evidence and witness testimony which offers the opportunity to find “new evidence and new perspectives on the nature of these crimes.”
Alongside a team from the university’s Center of Archaeology, Sturdy Colls has just completed a decade-long investigation into one of the least-studied scenes of Nazi barbarism: Lager Sylt, a slave labor and concentration camp on the island of Alderney.