Chełmno and the Holocaust: The History of Hitler's First Death Camp
I.B.Tauris, 2012 - 291 Seiten
It was Arthur Greiser, the Nazi governor of the Warthegau, who proposed to Himmler to apply the euthanasia program and gas wagons to the solution of the "Jewish question" in his province; in mid-1941 he obtained Hitler's permission to kill the Jews of Warthegau. On Greiser's initiative, the killing center of Chełmno, or Kulmhof, was established. It was not even a camp, because it consisted of a mansion in the village of Chelmno, burial plots in the Rzuchów Forest (the so-called "forest camp"), and a number of gas vans for killing. Describes the functioning of the Chełmno killing center; deportations to it from Koło, Konin, Łódź, and other vicinities of Warthegau; the killing and burying of victims in the "forest camp" and elsewhere; the first liquidation of the killing center in April 1943; its re-establishment in June 1944; and its final liquidation in January 1945. Dwells on Chełmno's German staff, the Jews and Poles who served in its work detachments, and the personal stories of Jews who managed to flee from Chełmno and survive the war, including Michał Podchlebnik, Szlama Winer, Yerachmiel Widawski, Yitzhak Justmann, Szymon Srebnik, Mieczysław (Mordechai) Żurawski and others. Based largely on Nazi documents and on survivors' and bystanders' accounts. Pp. 96-111 contain an English version of the testimony of Szlama Winer, a gravedigger at the Rzuchów Forest. Estimates the number of victims of at Chełmno as 172,230. Reviews, also, the story of the memorials established at the site by postwar Polish authorities.
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