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Battlefield bounty hunters17 Sep 3:30am

Battlefield bounty hunters

The Guardian
All over the Eastern Front, enthusiasts fuelled by vodka and nationalism search for military memorabilia. Jack Losh joins a group of Poles, and meets the men trying to stop them In the quiet of the forest, Aleksander holds a rusted pistol and turns it over. Others gather round to admire the handgun, each feeling its weight before shooting an imaginary bullet into the trees. More detritus of war is placed on a picnic table – a swastika-adorned badge, shards of shrapnel, a Soviet medal inscribed “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” The remnants of fallen regimes. The men are among the thousands of detectorists across Eastern Europe hunting for relics of the Red Army, the Third Reich and Imperial Russia. Beneath ploughed field and remote woodland is buried treasure from a turbulent, vanishing past. Even today, the war dead lie in these lands. Sometimes bodies are found. Is this grave robbing? I never take jewellery or gold teeth from the dead. But medals… that’s OK My father killed himself when I was 19. After that I drank hard for three years – a litre of vodka a day. Now I’m better
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