Chelmno Death Camp

Crematoria Site at the Forest Camp

Entrance to the site of open-air crematoria at the Forest camp

Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The same wall shown in context in the Forest Camp

Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The back side of the wall at the site of the crematoria

Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The back side of the wall shown in context at the Forest camp

Photo Credit: Alan Collins

In the winter of 1941-1942, the bodies of the Chelmno victims were buried in mass graves in the frozen ground of the Forest. In the Spring of 1942, two open-air crematoria were built and the bodies were dug up and cremated. The cremation ovens were open concrete-lined pits where the corpses were burned on grates. After the first phase of the killing between December 1941 and April 1943, these "furnaces" were destroyed on April 7, 1943. When the second phase began in May or June 1944, two more open-air crematoria were constructed, but they were also destroyed by the Nazis in order to get rid of all the evidence.

The following quote is from a book by the Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland entitled "GERMAN CRIMES IN POLAND" (Warsaw, 1946, 1947):

The ashes and remains of bones were removed from the ash-pit, ground in mortars, and, at first, thrown into especially dug ditches; but later, from 1943 onwards, bones and ashes were secretly carted to Zawadki at night, and there thrown into the river.


In the autumn of 1944 the camp in the wood was completely destroyed, the crematoria being blown up, the huts taken to pieces, and almost every trace of crime being carefully removed. A Special Commission from Berlin directed, on the spot, the destruction of all the evidence of what had been done.