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Metal fork recovered from Chelmno killing center

Object | Accession Number: 1989.308.25

Metal fork, 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 Lodz 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.

Date
use:  before 1942 September
recovered:  1986-1987
Geography
recovery: Chelmno (Concentration camp); Chełmno (Koło, Poland)
Classification
Household Utensils
Category
Flatware
Object Type
Forks (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Forks.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Muzeum Okręgowe w Koninie
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Record last modified: 2019-07-29 15:01:18
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1088