Vienna – Excavations at a newly identified Nazi-era mass grave are set to start soon at an Austrian army base, the Defense Minister said Wednesday. Historians have concluded that some 80 Hungarian Jews, resistance fighters, US war prisoners and others murdered by Hitler’s SS forces were likely buried at the base in Graz.

“This is about the victim’s families, and we will not rest until everything is cleared up,” Minister Norbert Darabos said.

Investigators are now planning to search for two known suspects, who would be over 90 years old if they are still alive, and who could be living in Germany.

In April 1945, the SS killed a total of around 220 Jews, two US pilots, concentration camp inmates, secret agents and forced labourers at the barracks, according to the team of historians led by Dieter Binder at Graz University.

But only 142 were found and exhumed after the war, at a nearby shooting range.

Based on reports by contemporary witnesses and aerial photos made by the US army, the historians have identified craters where the remaining 80 dead might lie.

While Austria was part of the Hitler’s German Reich, the barracks were known as SS base Wetzelsdorf. Renamed Belgierkaserne, they are now used by the armed forces, although the suspect grave areas have been cordoned off.