Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Rusted tablespoon recovered from Chelmno killing center

Object | Accession Number: 1989.308.1

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Rusted tablespoon recovered from Chelmno killing center

    Please select from the following options:


    Brief Narrative
    Metal tablespoon, likely recovered from a temporary pit furnace at Chelmno killing center in German-occupied Poland, during an archaeological excavation in 1986 and 1987. Killing operations at Chelmno commenced on December 8, 1941. Prisoners were taken to a camp at a manor house (Schlosslager) in the village to undress and relinquish their valuables. They were then loaded into a gas van where they were killed. The van was then driven 2.5 miles northwest of the village to a camp in the Rzuchowski forest (Waldlager), where the bodies were dumped into mass graves. The large number of corpses created a threat of disease and discovery by Allied forces, so the bodies were exhumed and burned in seven primitive pit furnaces. In the fall of 1942, the furnaces were replaced with two open-air crematoria consisting of concrete foundations topped by a grate of train rails. In March 1943, transports to Chelmno stopped, and the manor house and open-air crematoria in the forest were demolished. Deportations to Chelmno resumed from June to July 1944, to facilitate the liquidation of the Łódź ghetto. In this second phase, the entire killing process was carried out in the forest camp (Waldlager), necessitating the construction of new buildings. The Germans abandoned the camp on January 17, 1945, having killed over 172,000 people. The excavations of 1986-87, and later work have identified additional furnaces, crematoria, and mass graves at the site.
    use:  before 1942 September
    recovered:  1986-1987
    recovery: Chelmno (Concentration camp); Chełmno (Koło, Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Muzeum Okręgowe w Koninie

    Physical Details

    Household Utensils
    Physical Description
    Corroded, metal, tablespoon with an oval-shaped bowl and a long, straight, metal stem connected to the wide end. The stem is nearly straight, except for a small crimp in the middle, and widens as it nears the handle, which has a rounded end. The back of the stem is flat from the end of the handle to the crimp, where it becomes a concave channel until it reaches the bowl. Both the front and back of the spoon have a heavy brown corrosion across the entire surface, obscuring the original finish.
    overall: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Depth: 8.250 inches (20.955 cm)
    overall : metal, ink
    back, stem, handwritten, black ink: CHO49

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The tablespoon was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1989 by the Muzeum Okręgowe w Koninie.
    Record last modified:
    2023-12-06 12:06:02
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us