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Thomas Green

on 4 January 2014

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Transcript of Chelmno

Chelmno, Poland
Chelmno is a small village located around thirty miles northwest of Lodz, Poland
Chelmno runs right along the Ner River, which is a tributary of the Warta River
During World War II, Chelmno was part of the Watherland administrative unit
Killing Center
The Chelmno "killing center" was established to annihilate the Jewish population of the Watherland
Chelmno was the first stationary facility where poison gas was used for mass murder
320,000 people were killed at Chelmno
Arrival at Chelmno
The first group of victims arrived on December 7,1941
Victims were taken to a nearby train station, and walked or loaded trucks to Chelmno
Upon arrival at the camp, the passengers were greeted by the camp commandant and were told they would be treated and fed well if they worked hard.
Jews were told to remove their clothes because they were about to take a shower
The people removed their clothes and were taken through a hall to a small room
The room was a not a shower but a gas truck
Poison Gas
The prisoners were told to strip down for a shower, but this was no ordinary shower
The "shower" was the back of an enclosed truck
The Germans had enclosed the back of the truck so the fumes from the exhaust would fill the small room and suffocate the prisoners inside
Only around ten people could fit in the back of the truck
Chelmno was the first death camp to use a form of poison gas to kill prisoners
Kolo was one of the Jewish ghetto where the Jews of Chelmno came from
Kolo housed the first 800 Jews that were transported to Chelmno
Those eight-hundred Jews did not survive
The Palace
The palace was one of the two extermination sites at Chelmno
The palace was abandoned and at the edge of the village
It was only 150 meters off the road
The palace was the "welcome center" of Chelmno and was also one of the killing centers
The Forest Camp, also know as Waldlager, was the other killing center of Chelmno
The Forest Camp's main job was to be a mass burial ground
After the prisoners were gassed, they were taken to Waldlager to be buried
Later, the Germans built crematories in order to rid of the evidence
The SS were in direct control of the camp
The commander of the camp was an SS officer,
Wilhelm Koppe
Koppe was the SS and Police Leader in Warthegau, under the direct command of Heinrich Himmler
At the Kolo and Lodz ghettos, the Jewish people went through a selection
The Jews able to work passed and the other Jews unable to work were selected and transported to Chelmno to be exterminated
The ones who passed were put into labor commandos to clean the camp and collect clothes
Prisoner Treatment
The prisoners were treated with major brutality when they were inside the camp
When they arrived at the camp, the officers were kind to them and said they would get good treatment for work
Inside the camp, the prisoners were forced to do things and the officers were completely different people
Along with the thousands of Jews in Chelmno, there were also thousands of Gypsies that were taken to the camp
In January of 1942, 4,300 Gypsies were transported to Chelmno and murdered
They came from a Gypsy camp in the Lodz ghetto
Many of them died of poor sanitation and extreme hunger
In March, 1943, the Germans made the decision to shut down Chelmno
They blew up the palace, along with a transport of Jews who possessed typhus
The infected Jews were ordered into the first story of the palace and the building was blown up
The spring of 1944, the Lodz ghetto was liquidated and the remaining 80,000 residents had to be killed
The Forest Camp was reopened for extermination of the remaining residents
The Germans ordered the people to line up according to gender in front of a barrack
Seventy to ninety people were squeezed into trucks and gassed
The Ending
On January 17, 1945, the Nazis murdered 45 off the last 48 prisoners
The Soviet army was closer as the prison was being evacuated
The last 48 Jews fought against the fleeing Nazis, but only three survived
This truck was found when the Polish Army liberated the Nazi Death Camp. This vehicle is known as the Death Van
Full transcript