'Forest of death'
Usually, I do not give locations on this website as I do not want to make it too easy for competing searchers. In this case it makes sense at least to give some basic location information hoping someday some reader might be able to solve this mystery. If you know anything about the background story of the described item please contact me via the email address given in the imprint.
Several years ago I was searching in Germany, Upper Bavaria, near the old village of Sensau. Sensau is located in the vicinity of Steinhöring (spoken Steinhoering) which is located in Ebersberg county east of Munich.
Sensau is located at the rim of a large swampy ground. The ground is near black and far to wet for agriculture. A very silent landscape. This picture shows the road leading to Sensau.
From a searchers point of view Sensau is mildly interesting because of the spot above the village where once a very small wooden castle was located. If that spot ever contained good finds they are gone by now. Apart from this there is a bomb crater in a nearby forest as the locals can tell. And there is a medieval street control station in the woods one or two km away from the village, also void of finds. The main reason why Sensau is on the searcher’s map is a bronze age axe head, some 3500 years old, that was found there. Unfortunately it was found by a farmer who had no idea of the age of his find so he sharpened the strange green axe and used it for several years on his farm. Luckily, this was discovered and the ignorant individual gave the find to a local museum.
Where one bronze axe was found there might be more. Following that golden searcher’s rule I searched a forest in the Sensau region. It soon became apparent that I was not the first to have this idea. The usual telltale signs indicated another searcher had been there just a few days earlier. He did not dig iron so I think he was after bronze. He was right not digging these particular iron signals. I know because I dug and found only trash.
The day went be without finds worth mentioning. All I found was a rotten Hitler Youth badge and a dead bird of prey. It already started to get dark in the forest when I found the item this account is about.
It was a plate made from thick layers of hard paper. It lay on the forest ground some 100 m, if I recall correctly, apart from the main street pictured above.
The size of the plate can be concluded from my boots visible at the lower rim of the picture.
The writing translates to
Forest of the death
Since 1930 20 dead [persons] are lying here.
According to its outward appearance it was drawn by a child in my opinion. The creator noted too late that insufficient space did not allow to write the entire headline in bold characters. The bold words “Der Tote” just means “The dead [person]”.
The German word for “since” - “seit” - is written incorrectly.
On the other hand the content is very precise. Numbers are given. Do young children invent something like this?
The red zig-zag lines resemble, when mirrored, the SS runes.
The 1920s and before Hitler came to power in 1933 were a phase of political turmoil and social unrest in Germany. Partly the opponents were armed and occasionally somebody was shot in Bavaria. But a secret mass grave of 20 people sounds very unlikely. I have not studied in particular the local Sensau history of these years but I read books on the local history and nowhere 20 missing people were mentioned.
I mentioned this plate and its writing to a ca. 55 year old inhabitant of Sensau. He had never heard of such an incident and had no idea what this plate was about.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.