Chapter 34: The Final Solution
On December 6, 1941 the Soviets mounted a counterattack against the German siege of Moscow.
At the same time, in the town of Chelmno in southeastern Poland, the Germans began to exterminate Jews by asphyxiation through the means of carbon monoxide. As soon as the gas reaches the brain, it causes disorientation, loss of consciousness, asphyxiation and finally death. The Germans would put approximately fifty people into the cargo compartment of a truck, shut and seal the doors, extend the exhaust pipe with a hose, insert the end of the hose into the compartment and turn on the engine of the truck.
In the city of Vilnius, the Germans killed approximately 100,000 Jews and their collaborators in a matter of a few days. They were taken to the forest, ordered to dig massive pits, undress, line up and then were systematically shot. The locals were employed to extract the gold from their teeth and to cut off ring-bearing fingers. The bodies were then thrown into the pit. Many were only wounded, yet thrown into the pit and covered with earth while still alive.
In the city of Kiev a proclamation was issued, telling all Jews residing in Kiev and its environs to present themselves at eight in the morning on Monday September 29th at the corner of Malinovski and Dochtorov streets. They were ordered to take along their documents, money, valuables, warm clothes, underwear etc. Any person found violating the decree was shot. It also stated that any local resident caught stealing from an apartment vacated by a Jew would be shot.
The Jews who arrived at the designated place thought they were being deported. Instead they were taken to the nearby forest, known as Babi Yar. In the end 34,000 Jews from the city of Kiev were massacred at Babi Yar. The Ukrainians were only too happy to assist in the extermination.
The Jews of Lublin were taken to Belzec as well as Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Birkenau extermination camps.
The Nazi program known as the Final Solution, for the extermination of all Jews, was now in full swing.