Scrapbookpages Blog

July 31, 2016

the Manor house at Chelmno

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:10 am

One of the readers of my blog mentioned the Manor house at Chelmno in a comment.

The Chelmno Schlosslager had neither prisoner barracks nor factories; its sole purpose was to murder Jews and Roma who were not capable of working at forced labor for the Nazis. In 1939, there were around 385,000 Jews living in the Warthegau; those who could work were sent to the Lodz ghetto where they labored in textile factories which made uniforms for the German army.

On January 16, 1942, deportations from the Lodz ghetto began; records from the ghetto show that 54,990 people were deported before the final liquidation of the ghetto in August 1944. The Jewish leader of the Lodz ghetto, Chaim Rumkowski, compiled the lists of people to be deported, although he had no knowledge that they were being sent to their deaths at Chelmno.

The gassing of the Jews at Chelmno was carried out in two separate phases. In the first phase, between December 7, 1941 and April 1943, Jews from the surrounding area and the Lodz ghetto were brought to Chelmno and killed on the day after their arrival. Although the Nazis destroyed all records of the Chelmno camp, it is alleged that around 15,000 Jews and 5,000 Roma, who were deported from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia and Luxembourg, were brought to Chelmno to be killed in this remote spot.

Chelmno was allegedly a Nazi extermination camp. It was located in the small Polish village of Chelmno nad Neren (Chelmno on the river Ner), 60 kilometers northwest of Lodz, a major city in what is now western Poland.

Foundation of the Manor house

Foundation of the Manor house at the Chelmno transit camp [Photo credit: Alan Collins]

Location of Manor house at Chelmno

Location of the Manor house at Chelmno transit camp [photo credit: Alan Collins]

The site of another building at Chelmno Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The site of another building at Chelmno [photo Credit: Alan Collins]

Alan Collins, the photographer who visited the site of the camp, and took these photos, wrote the following with regard to the fate of the Jews at Chelmno:

Begin quote:

The [Jewish] victims were driven to the Castle Site during phase 1 which stared in December 1941, though the building is sometimes described as a Manor House. They were made to undress after being told they were going to be resettled in the east but required a shower before they left.

They were forced through the ground floor of the building and via a ramp into a specially constructed lorry which was waiting at the end of the building. The exhaust of the lorry could be directed into the rear of the vehicle.

The lorry was driven to the Forest Site in the Rzuchowski Forest, about 4km away and the victims disposed of. To add to the horror the Manor House was blown up by the SS on the 7th April 1943 with a group of victims inside the building. These people had arrived unexpectedly late and it was feared by the Germans that they had typhus so they were ordered to go to the first floor of the building which was blown up with them inside.

End quote from Alan Collins.

The victims of the Nazis at Chelmno also included Polish citizens and Soviet Prisoners of War. The POWs were taken directly to the Rzuchowski forest where they were shot.

The Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem has a list of 12 names of children from Lidice who were sent to Chelmno, although other sources claim that the number of orphans from Lidice was far higher. These were children whose parents had been killed when the Czech village of Lidice was completely destroyed in a reprisal action after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

The Chelmno camp, which was opened by the Germans some time in October or November 1941, was in the Warthegau, a district in the part of Poland that had been annexed into the Greater German Reich after the joint conquest of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939.

Chelmno was called Kulmhof by the Germans and Lodz was known by the German name Litzmannstadt.

The Warthegau had been a part of the German state of Prussia between 1795 and 1871. After the German states united in 1871, the Warthegau was in Germany until after World War I, when it was given back to the Poles.

The Jews were brought on trains to the village of Kolo, 14 kilometers from Chelmno. Kolo was the closest stop on the main railroad line from Lodz to Poznan. At Kolo, the victims were transferred to another train which took them on a narrow gauge railroad line 6 kilometers to the village of Powiercie.

From Powiercie, the victims had to walk 1.5 kilometers through a forest to the village of Zawadka where they spent their last night locked inside a mill. They were then transported, by trucks, the next day to Chelmno.

You can see more photos, taken by Alan Collins, on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Chelmno/Tour01A.html

 

9 Comments »

  1. Looking at those photos of the ruined foundations of the “Manor House” at Chelmno, the first question that anyone would ask is;- why have the physical remains of this building been left in such a dilapidated state for decades on end.

    It is claimed that nearly 150,000 Jews were unknowingly prepared for extermination there, and were then unceremoniously forced into vehicles in which they were gassed to death. But this cannot be right – any respectable Polish national government or regional authority, along with the various national and international Jewish organisations would have done something years and years ago to clean up the site properly, and build a perimeter wall around it, and then erect a suitable memorial for victims relatives, pilgrims and visitors to pay their respects and leave tributes in memory of the alleged dreadful event.

    But its quite obvious that the reason that they have not done this, is because they know full well that this manor house was never used as a facility to launch mass murder, but purely as a transit stopover where people changed their clothes; were fumigated; given a shower and some food and water, before they were bussed to the main train station for evacuation to Russia.

    Comment by Talbot — July 31, 2016 @ 3:26 pm

    • “Looking at those photos of the ruined foundations of the “Manor House” at Chelmno, the first question that anyone would ask is;- why have the physical remains of this building been left in such a dilapidated state for decades on end.”

      Well, the Germans blew it up, Talbot.
      Does that answer you question?

      “It is claimed that nearly 150,000 Jews were unknowingly prepared for extermination there, and were then unceremoniously forced into vehicles in which they were gassed to death. But this cannot be right – any respectable Polish national government or regional authority, along with the various national and international Jewish organisations would have done something years and years ago to clean up the site properly, and build a perimeter wall around it, and then erect a suitable memorial for victims relatives, pilgrims and visitors to pay their respects and leave tributes in memory of the alleged dreadful event.”

      Um, they did.
      There is a memorial and a museum at the site:

      http://www.memorialmuseums.org/eng/staettens/view/122/Museum-of-the-Former-Extermination-Camp-in-Che%C5%82mno-on-Ner

      There are on-going excavations at the site:

      http://www.presentpasts.info/articles/10.5334/pp.12/

      The extermination centre of Chełmno-on-Ner in the Łodż area (Fig. 1) is different from the other extermination centres since it consisted of two separate compounds. The first one was the Castle (the Palace or the Estate) in the village of Chełmno (Kulmhof), where Jews were assembled and murdered in stationary gas vans. The bodies of the victims were then taken by the gas vans four km northward, to the Rzuchów forest clearings. This was the second part of the site, where the bodies were cremated and buried in mass graves (Krakowski, 1993). Estimations of numbers of victims killed at Chełmno vary between 150,000 (Hilberg, 1985: 1219, Rückerl, 1977: 288-293) and 250,000 (Krakowski, 2004: 15).
      The excavations of Chełmno were carried out by Ł. Pawlicka-Nowak on behalf of the Konin Museum in three phases during the years 1986-1987, 1997-2002 and 2003-2004. The reports published until now describe the finds in both Kulmhof and Rzuchów forest (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004a, Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004b). The most important elements unearthed at the Castle in Kulmhof are the remains of the basement rooms and the corridor through which the naked Jews were marched to the gas vans. Numerous artefacts were found here, many of which belong to Jews, such as a fragment of a denture with a Hebrew date that corresponds to November 29, 1940, curved on it (Fig. 3) (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004b: 49). Nine pits were excavated in the yard in front of the Castle and numerous artefacts were recovered, including jewellery (Budziarek, 2004). Judaica items were also found, for example, pit 4 yielded items such as a knife with the Hebrew inscription ‘Holy Sabbath’ and the inscription ‘Pesach’ on vodka glasses (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004b: 54-56). Also worth noting is a cigarette case lid (Fig. 4) from pit 2, with an inscription indicating that the case was a first price awarded to Josef Jakubowski in a motorcycle race in 1936 (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004b: 53).

      Photo of denture fragment
      Fig. 3: A fragment of a denture with a curved Hebrew date which corresponds to November 29, 1940 (courtesy of Ł. Pawlicka-Nowak, Regional Museum of Konin).

      Photo of cigarette case lid
      Fig. 4: Chełmno: a fragment of a cigarette case lid from pit 2. First prize awarded to Jósef Jakubowski in a motorcycle race in 1936 (courtesy of Ł. Pawlicka-Nowak, Regional Museum of Konin).

      Photo of artifacts from Chelmno
      Fig. 5: Artefacts from Chełmno displayed at the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London, on a loan from the Regional Museum of Konin.

      Plan of the Rzuchow forest
      Fig. 6: Plan of the Rzuchów forest, the area of the Chełmno mass graves (courtesy of Ł. Pawlicka-Nowak, Regional Museum of Konin).
      The artefacts mentioned above and those illustrated in the printed reports and on the Web are just a minute fraction of the thousands of artefacts recovered in many parts of Chełmno. They include glass artefacts such as bottles, syringes, metallic tableware such as cups, plates, bowls, silver, as well as combs, tooth brushes, dentures, spectacles shoes, textiles, etc. Hundreds of such artefacts are exhibited at the local museum near the Castle and in the Imperial War Museum in London (Fig. 5). The excavations of Chełmno yielded what seems to be the richest collection of extermination centre artefacts.
      The excavations at the Rzuchów forest (Fig. 6), focused mainly on five mass graves (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004a: 22-24, Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004b: 59-64), and eight ‘objects’. These are remnants of structures or installations, four of which are defined as ‘field furnaces’ and four as ‘crematoria’ (2004a: 18-21). The graves vary in length between 62 and 254 metres, and in width between 3 and 10 metres. Depths of 3-4 metres are recorded only for two mass graves, 2 and 5. They were filled with grey soil, burnt waste and ground human bones. It is worth noting that small objects belonging to the victims were found in Grave 1, and this indicates, according to Pawlicka-Nowak (2004b:60 ), that people were buried with their clothes, probably during the first stage of extermination (January 1942).
      The crematoria are different in shape and size, but the sediments which fill them are basically the same: soil, with the inclusions of burnt waste, ashes and bone fragments (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004a: 19-21), very similar to the sediments of the graves. In three out of the four crematoria fragments of concrete pipes, used to let fresh air into the furnace and chamotte bricks were also found. The field furnaces are about 7 to 9 metres in diameter and 3 to 5 metres deep. Their fill is similar to the fill of the crematoria and includes bricks and concrete pipes (Pawlicka-Nowak, 2004a: 19-21: 18-19). It appears that the crematoria were located in closed structures and the field furnaces were open air pits.

      “But its quite obvious that the reason that they have not done this,”

      Oh, so sorry. I just proved you wrong, what a shame.

      “is because they know full well that this manor house was never used as a facility to launch mass murder, but purely as a transit stopover where people changed their clothes; were fumigated; given a shower and some food and water, before they were bussed to the main train station for evacuation to Russia.”

      Ok, where in Russia? Where’s your proof.?

      Comment by Jeff K. — July 31, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

      • No – you haven’t provided any sensible explanation as to why the manor house site has been left in this deplorable condition for decades on end.

        In any civilised country – if a massacre of human beings had taken place of the magnitude that we have been told – then the population would have demanded of their government that such a site would be turned into a shrine, and immediately cleared of all this rubble and debris in order for memorials and plaques to be erected in a sensitive and imaginative manner. A perimeter wall or fence would have been placed around the site right from the word go, with manicured lawns and borders planted with shrubs and foliage.

        Neither the Poles nor the Jews have done this, so it is clear enough evidence they ether don’t care about the place – or they know that this wasn’t a site of mass murder at all, but merely a transit stopover for Jews being evacuated eastwards into Russia.

        Whereabouts in Russia did they go? – well, this information has obviously been deliberately withheld from the general public by the Soviets, and to lesser extent by the Poles themselves. Both former Communist countries had a vested interest in hiding mass transfers of Jewish transports to the east in favour of building up an extermination myth. But the only way we are going to find out the truth of all this is to kindly ask that nice Mr Putin to fully open the WW2 archives in Moscow to revisionist and independent scholars and investigators.

        Comment by Talbot — July 31, 2016 @ 6:41 pm

        • “No – you haven’t provided any sensible explanation as to why the manor house site has been left in this deplorable condition for decades on end.”

          God, Talbot. Did you not read what I said?

          There is a memorial and a museum on site. Archeologists are digging at the site to determine what is left on-site.

          The Germans BLEW UP the manor in 1943 so there is no structure to maintain. All that is left is a foundation. The archeologists found the basement and corridor in that foundation.

          “In any civilised country – if a massacre of human beings had taken place of the magnitude that we have been told – then the population would have demanded of their government that such a site would be turned into a shrine, and immediately cleared of all this rubble and debris in order for memorials and plaques to be erected in a sensitive and imaginative manner. A perimeter wall or fence would have been placed around the site right from the word go, with manicured lawns and borders planted with shrubs and foliage.”

          Nice to see your English sensibilities surging to the top.
          Talbot, the site is/was not particularly well known. The Poles did investigate Chelmno but they were also trying to rebuild their country after the Germans turned it into a slag heap. They were also dealing with the third occupation of their country in 6 years, the Soviet/German occupation, the German occupation, then a Soviet one. After the war Poland was a poor country.
          Auschwitz and Majdanek were easy to turn into memorials, they were still standing. The ARC and Chelmno were not, the Germans destroyed those sites.
          I believe the first memorial at Chelmno was constructed in the 1960’s. However, the Communist Government in Poland had little interest in memorializing the Jewish dead, there were few Jews left in Poland and there was no way for international Jewish groups to force the issue.
          So, while I agree more should have been there was no way for more to be done.

          “Neither the Poles nor the Jews have done this, so it is clear enough evidence they ether don’t care about the place – or they know that this wasn’t a site of mass murder at all, but merely a transit stopover for Jews being evacuated eastwards into Russia.”

          Memorial. Museum. Archeological digs.
          Sorry, wrong.

          “Whereabouts in Russia did they go? – well, this information has obviously been deliberately withheld from the general public by the Soviets, and to lesser extent by the Poles themselves. Both former Communist countries had a vested interest in hiding mass transfers of Jewish transports to the east in favour of building up an extermination myth. But the only way we are going to find out the truth of all this is to kindly ask that nice Mr Putin to fully open the WW2 archives in Moscow to revisionist and independent scholars and investigators.”

          Um, Mattogono and Graf, the foremost denier scholars, regularly visit the archives. David Irving also visited those archives. They found squat to support the whole “Jews to the East” theory.
          Mattogono or Graf, I can’t remember which, actually now live in the Russia, employed as an interpreter.

          Why do you not know this?

          Comment by Jeff K. — July 31, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

  2. Ingrid Weckert and Carlo Mattogno have written on the topic of Chelmno –
    http://www.codoh.com/library/document/1546/

    http://www.codoh.com/library/document/1205/

    Comment by Les — July 31, 2016 @ 12:01 pm

  3. Just more lies to promote the Holohoax myth…

    JR

    On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 12:11 PM, Scrapbookpages Blog wrote:

    > furtherglory posted: “One of the readers of my blog mentioned the Manor > house at Chelmno in a comment. Chelmno was allegedly a Nazi extermination > camp. It was located in the small Polish village of Chelmno nad Neren > (Chelmno on the river Ner), 60 kilometers northwest of Lodz,” >

    Comment by jrizoli — July 31, 2016 @ 11:44 am

  4. “The Jewish leader of the Lodz ghetto, Chaim Rumkowski, compiled the lists of people to be deported, although he had no knowledge that they were being sent to their deaths at Chelmno.”

    Too bad there were no Allied newspapers and broadcasts in the Lodz ghetto…

    “But, Witness, haven’t you access to the foreign press, the press department in your ministry, to foreign broadcasts?” – [British prosecutor] David Maxwell-Fyfe to Hermann Goering [after saying that he knew nothing of the Holohoax], at Nuremberg

    If one can’t even rely on the atrocity propaganda of a country at war, what can be trusted in this world?😉

    Comment by hermie — July 31, 2016 @ 11:11 am

  5. But what say you to the claims that it was a death camp?

    Comment by Mr B — July 31, 2016 @ 9:58 am

    • You wrote: “But what say you to the claims that it [Chelmno] was a death camp?”

      I say that Chelmno was a transit camp.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 31, 2016 @ 10:11 am


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