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Extermination Camp Chelmno

Chelmno nad Nerem is situated at the River Ner at about 60 to 70 kilometers from Lodz in Poland. In this camp, people were murdered by means of carbon monoxide (exhaust fumes) in trucks. The camp was being exploited in two different periods: the so called "church period" and the "castle period". People were rounded up either in the local church or in the courtyard of the castle. The church is still there, of the castle very little remains.

The church and the castle are closely situated in the village of Chelmo (Kulmhof in German). People were loaded in the vans in front of the church and in the other period at the castle. The crematorium site was situated a few kilometers away in the woods and could be reached over a narrow road. The speed of the trucks was such that all victims in the back of the vans were dead on arrival.

In Chelmno approximately 360.000 people were killed. The victims were mainly Jews and Gypsies from the ghetto of Lodz. During the war, also prisoners of war from Czechoslovakia, Russia and Hungary were deported to this camp.

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  • Text: Felix Dalberger
  • Photos: Koos Winkelman

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