As the first extermination camp established by the Nazi regime and the prototype of the single-purpose death camps of Treblinka, SobibOr and Be??ec, the Che?mno death camp stands as a crucial but largely unexplored element of the Holocaust. This book is the first comprehensive work in any language to expose all aspects of the camp's history, organisation and operations and to remedy the dearth of information in the Holocaust literature about Che?mno, the death camp established in a small pastoral village in rural Poland to launch a campaign of mass murder. Che?mno was the first camp to be created with the explicit aim of killing, thus launching the process of industrialised human extermination which the Nazis came to perfect. Patrick Montague chronicles how Che?mno broke the psychological barrier for establishing an extermination camp, which quickly became a template for the Nazis' 'Final Solution'. He reveals events leading to the establishment of the camp, how the mobile killing squad employed the world's first gas van to terminate the lives of mentally-ill patients, and the assembly-line procedure employed in the camp to commit genocide on the Jewish population. Despite the vast body of literature on the Holocaust, the story of Che?mno has been largely overlooked by historians. This book provides the first single-volume history of the camp and its handful of survivors. Based on over 20 years of thorough research, Che?mno and the Holocaust contains previously-unpublished first-hand accounts and photographs. It is a vital contribution to a neglected but critically important chapter in the history of the Holocaust.
Chelmno and the Holocaust
A History of Hitler's First Death Camp