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Chelmno and the Holocaust

The History of Hitler's First Death Camp

Patrick Montague

Publication Year: 2012

This work is a comprehensive history of the Chelmno camp, located in Poland, which the author argues was a template for other, better known and documented Nazi camps devoted exclusively to the “Final Solution” for Europe’s Jews and others. The manuscript is largely a descriptive narrative, packed with detail, rather than an analytical study. This is appropriate because there has been heretofore very little known about and documented on Chelmno. Montague has been indefatigable in gathering information from Polish, Israeli, English, German, and other archives. This book aims to stand as the standard work on the Chelmno camp.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyrihgt

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Contents

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pp. vii-

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii-x

List of Maps

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pp. xi-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xii-xiii

This book is the result of a project that eventually stretched over a 20 year period. So many people intersected with this work over the years that it is truly impossible to name them all. A sincere thank you seems less than adequate. Others who cannot go unnamed and whom I want to acknowledge and thank here are as follows: ...

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Foreword

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pp. xiv-v

The small Polish village of Chełmno was the site of the first Nazi death camp, which unlike the larger and better known death camps that followed—Bełżec, Sobibór, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek—used mobile gas vans rather than stationary gas chambers. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

The literature on the extermination of the Jews during the Second World War is vast. It is common knowledge that millions of people perished in the Holocaust, yet research concerning the extermination centers, where many of the victims actually died, is limited at best. ...

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1. Prologue

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pp. 9-48

"Euthanasia” is a word derived from the Greek language meaning “helping to die.” The modern concept of “physician-assisted suicide” has nothing in common with what has become known as the Euthanasia Program conducted by the National Socialist regime. This program was based on racial theory and eugenics. ...

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2. Extermination: The First Period (1941–1943), Photographs follow page 148

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pp. 49-148

In the autumn of 1941, Rottenführer Walter Burmeister, assigned as Lange’s driver, signed an oath of secrecy to remain silent concerning his activities with the Sonderkommando.1 While the operation in Konin was underway, Lange ordered Burmeister to drive east about 40 kilometers to the small village of Chełmno. ...

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3. Extermination: The Second Period (1944–1945)

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pp. 149-174

Between the closure of Chełmno in April 1943 and its re-establishment a year later, Germany faced a number of defeats on the battlefield. German forces had already surrendered at Stalingrad, the Red Army’s long march to Berlin had begun and Allied bombing over the Reich intensified. ...

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4. Epilogue

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pp. 175-196

The Sonderkommando fled Chełmno just before the arrival of the Red Army. The remaining members of the Polizeiwachtkommando were placed under the command of the local police in Koło. The SS contingent drove to Konin and spent the night there. Bothmann attempted to contact Dr. Bradfisch of the Łódź Gestapo, but was unsuccessful. ...

Appendices

Appendix I: The Gas Vans

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pp. 199-212

Appendix II: The Kaszyński Affair

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pp. 213-218

Appendix III: Fates of Key Figures

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pp. 219-230

Notes

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pp. 231-256

Bibliography

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pp. 257-268

Index

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pp. 269-291


E-ISBN-13: 9781469601854
E-ISBN-10: 1469601850
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807835272
Print-ISBN-10: 0807835277

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Chelmno (Concentration camp) -- History.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Poland -- Chełmno (Konin).
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Poland -- Chełmno (Konin).
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