Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Chelmno: April 2014 A to Z Challenge

C is for Chelmno Concentration Camp.

From Wikipedia:

Chełmno extermination camp, known to the Germans as the Kulmhof concentration camp, was a Nazi German extermination camp situated 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Łódź, near the Polish village of Chełmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr in German). After the invasion of Poland in 1939 Germany annexed the area as part of the new territory of Reichsgau Wartheland aiming at its complete "Germanization". The camp was set up specifically for that process. It operated from December 8, 1941 to April 11, 1943 during Aktion Reinhard (the most deadly phase of the Holocaust), and from June 23, 1944 to January 18, 1945 during the Soviet counter-offensive. It was built to exterminate Jews of the Łódź Ghetto and the local Polish inhabitants of Reichsgau Wartheland (Warthegau).[4] In 1943 modifications were made to the camp's killing methods, as the reception building was already dismantled.[5]
At a very minimum 152,000 people (Bohn) were killed in the camp,[3] though the West German prosecution citing Nazi figures during the Chełmno Trials of 1962–65, laid charges for at least 180,000 Jews murdered there.[6] The Polish estimates in the early postwar period suggested a great deal more, up to a total of 340,000 victims, the vast majority of whom were Jews.[4] The murdered came chiefly from Łódź and the surrounding area, along with Romani from Greater Poland. But Jews from HungaryBohemiaMoravia, Germany, Luxemburg, and Austria were also transported to Chelmno via the Łódź Ghetto, and Soviet prisoners of war were killed there. The camp killed most of the victims by the use of gas vans. It was a center for early experimentation and development of methods of mass murder, some of which were applied in later phases of the Holocaust.[7]
One of the camp survivors testified that only three Jewish males had escaped the Chełmno extermination camp successfully; he was fifteen years old.[8] The Holocaust Encyclopedia noted that seven escaped from work details during the early 1940s; among them wasYakov Grojanowski, who documented the camp's operations in his Grojanowski Report. But he was later captured and killed at another death camp before war's end.[3] In June 1945 two survivors testified at a trial of captured camp personnel in Łódź, Poland. The three best-known survivors testified about their Chełmno experiences at the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Two also testified at the camp personnel trials conducted in 1962–65 by West Germany.[8]

I apologize to y'all this morning...I've been working my ass off and haven't had much sleep.  Despite this, I am committed to doing a great blog post every day and sticking to my A to Z guns.

So, I bring you the story of Shimon Srebrnik, one of a handful of survivors from the Chelmna Concentration Camp in Poland.  Chelmna was the site of the Nazi's brutal experiments in handling "the final solution".  Nothing was off limits here and the barbarity ran high.  I will never understand how one human can treat another human in such a way, no matter what their differences.

I hope you enjoy Mr. Srebrnik's video.  I apologize for not dressing this post up as much as I'd like but in all honesty, it was a challenge to even write this morning.  I sure hope it's semi-literate!  Anyway, enjoy your Thursday and I'll be back in top form tomorrow.  Thanks again to everyone who has commented and followed.  :))

Shimon Srebrnik

Shimon Srebrink is one of the few survivors of Chelmno Concentration Camp

Random Odd Fact From WWII:

Calvin Graham was only 12 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart before the Navy found out how old he was.