The first extermination centre

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by angie999, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Chelmno: a brief introduction

    Chelmno was and remains a small village in the western part of Poland which was incorporated into the Reich after the German invasion. The district was then settled by a number of German colonists, although large numbers of Poles remained.

    The extermination centre was the first to come into use in 1941, well before the Wannsee conference.

    The killing was done in mobile gassing vans which used carbon monoxide gas from the vehicle exhaust. The victims would be loaded into the vans and driven off to the burial site and they would be dead by the time the van got there. Later in WWII, extensive efforts were made to exhume and burn the bodies.

    There were two periods of operation, known as the "church period" and the "castle period". This referrs to the place where the victims were brought and held prior to being gassed.

    The local Catholic church subsequently returned to its former use and, as far as I know, remains in use to this day. The castle was later demolished.

    Many local Jews were force marched there on foot, but a light railway was also laid to bring people from further afield.

    A very small number of Jews were used for "camp" administration, processing the victims' belongings and burial parties and as far as I know, there were only two or three survivors.

    There are a number of accounts of the "camp" in operation from local Poles and a few German settlers.
  2. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    Chelmno - the Epilogue
    After the war, two members of the sonderkommando "Kulmchof", Walter Piller and Hermann Gielow, were sentenced to death by a Polish court. In the years 1962-1965, eleven criminals from the Chelmno camp were on trial in West Germany. For "accessory to murder", the court sentenced three criminals to 13 years, one to 8 years, one to 7 years, three to 13 months and 2 weeks in prison and the rest were acquitted.
    On March 14th, 2001 the Departmental Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Poznań (a part of Institute of National Remebrance) issued an indictment to the District Court in Poznań against Henryk Mania for the deed consisting in the co-operation with the German state from December 8th 1941 to April 7th 1943 in the concentration camp in Chełmno upon Ner (currently the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship) where he, acting together and in the co-operation with nazi authorities, took part in genocide on Polish citizens of Jewish nationality.
    On June 7th, 2001 the District Court in Poznań - delegation in Konin - found the defendant guilty of the crime and sentenced him for 8 years of imprisonment.
    On February 2nd, 2002, the Court of Appeal in Poznań examining the appeal of the defendant, sustained the sentence of the District Court in Poznań. The sentence is legally valid.

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