Starvation. Mass shootings. Gas chambers. Beatings. Mass murder. In the early 1940s, perhaps the most brutal atrocities ever committed on a people in our world's history took place. It was World War II. The Nazi Regime, led by Adolf Hitler, was waging war across Europe. Occupied Poland became the place where those prisoners and captives held by the Nazis were sent to be eliminated. From 1941 through 1945 a total of some 3.5 million Jews met their deaths in Nazi extermination camps. These "death camps" as they are often referred to had the single goal of eliminating the Jews while hiding these crimes under a shroud from the rest of the world. Unlike the "concentration camps" of the same time, where Jews were brainwashed and ordered to do labor for the Germans yet still often killed, the death camps were devised solely for the mass killings of prisoners. There was no discrimination. Men fit for work, women and children of all ages were not sorted and suffered the same fate. These events would be known as "the Final Solution" to the Jewish problem faced by the Nazis.
Captive Jews were held in areas called "ghettos" ultimately commanded by the Germans. Following through with the elimination of the Jews, the Nazis gave them fierce living conditions often housing dozens of people in small buildings. Food was administered in very small amounts. Those that did not starve to death were either shot or sent to camps. Some were sent to concentration camps. There were also labor camps. During some of these trips, prisoners would be told that they were being relocated. Many of these people instead arrived at the extermination camps never to be heard from again. The Polish town known as Kulmhof, though more popularly known as Chelmno, was the first place where mass killings by gas took place as part of the "Final Solution." It was established in December of 1941. The first man in charge of this operation was Herbert Lange. This "Sonderkommando" or...
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