Chelmno

/khewm"naw/, n.
a Nazi concentration camp in central Poland.

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Polish  Chełmno , German  Kulmhof 

      Nazi (Nazi Party) German extermination camp on the Ner River, a tributary of the Warta, in western Poland. It opened in December 1941 and closed in January 1945 and was operated to execute Jews, most of whom were Polish. Some Soviet prisoners of war and Roma (Rom) (Gypsies) were also executed here. Estimates of the number executed range from 170,000 to 360,000.

      As the first camp to conduct mass executions of Jews, Chelmno introduced the most deadly phase of the Holocaust. Its victims were from the Łódź ghetto and from 36 communities in western Poland. Also sent to Chelmno were 88 children from the Czech town of Lidice, whose population was decimated as a collective reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Heydrich, Reinhard) in May 1942.

      The facilities included three gas vans and two crematoria that were 32.5 feet (10 metres) wide and 16–19 feet (5–6 metres) long. Gassing began on December 8, 1941, just hours after Pearl Harbor was struck by Japanese planes. For the Nazis, the drawback of the vans was their limited capacity. They could not handle large numbers of victims. They were also slow. The excruciating suffering of the victims, who died by asphyxiation, was of little concern to the SS, but the task of unloading the vans after each use was time-consuming and “unpleasant.” Dying took so long that the anguished victims could not control their bowels. As a result, other camps used stationary killing centres. Chelmno acquired a special reputation for its “efficient” bone-crushing machine (Knochenmühle).

      The existence of Chelmno was no secret. An early Jewish escapee in June 1942 got word of the camp to the Polish government-in-exile in London and to Mordecai Chaim Rumkowski, the head of the Judenrat (Judenräte) (German: Jewish Council) in the Łódź ghetto.

      From August 1944 to January 1945 the SS burned and obliterated Chelmno's installations and sought to kill all known inmates, in an attempt to erase all traces of the camp. Only two Jewish survivors were found after the war.

Michael Berenbaum
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chelmno — Chełmno Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chełmno (homonymie). Chełmno …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CHELMNO — (Ger. Kulmhof), Nazi extermination camp on the Ner River 37 mi. (60 km.) west of lodz , the first site used for the murder of Jews by gassing as part of the German Final Solution to the Jewish question. The gassing of Jews began on December 8,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Chelmno — Chełmno Bandera …   Wikipedia Español

  • Chelmno — Chełmno ist der Name mehrerer Orte in Polen Kreisstadt (deutsch Kulm, auch Culm) in der Woiwodschaft Kujawien Pommern, siehe Chełmno (Weichsel) Ortsteil (1940–1945 Kulmhof) der Gemeinde Dąbie dort befindliches NS Vernichtungslager, siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chełmno — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in Polen Kreisstadt (deutsch Kulm, auch Culm) in der Woiwodschaft Kujawien Pommern, siehe Chełmno (Weichsel) Ortsteil (1940–1945 Kulmhof) der Gemeinde Dąbie dort befindliches NS Vernichtungslager, siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chełmno —   [ xɛu̯mnɔ],    1) Stadt in Polen, Culm.    2) Gemeinde in der Woiwodschaft Lodz, Polen, 70 km westlich von Lodz. In Chełmno wurde im Oktober/November 1941 die erste nationalsozialistische Vernichtungsstätte des Holocaust eingerichtet (deutscher …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Chelmno — (poln.), Kreis u. Stadt in Preußen, so v.w. Kulm …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chełmno — (Polish), Culm (variant in German), Kulm (German) …   Names of cities in different languages

  • Chełmno — For the Nazi German extermination camp located near a village with a similar name, Chełmno nad Nerem, see Chełmno extermination camp. For the village in western Poland, see Chełmno, Szamotuły County. Chełmno Churc …   Wikipedia

  • Chełmno — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chełmno (homonymie). Chełmno …   Wikipédia en Français

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