|The Gas Chamber
In October 1939
the SS Sonderkommando
arrived in Owinska
(a town about 13 km north of Poznan
). In the second half of
, the SS started to kill the patients of the
Owinska Mental Home
1-3 military trucks left the hospital nearly every day, carrying always 25 persons. The staff was told that the
hospital should be closed and all patients transferred to other facilities.
At first all men were deported, followed by the women, finally 78 children were sent to death
on 11 November 1939
. Until 30 November 1939
the mental home was empty, apart from a few persons for economic affairs. About 1,000 patients were killed
in a primitive gas chamber at
or later in
gas vans which drove them to secluded forests in the vicinity of Poznan
their corpses were buried in mass graves. The nurse Pelagia Gumna
that some vans drove into the direction of Poznan
(13 km south of
), others to the direction of Murowana
(10 km north of Owinska
After a truck has arrived at Fort VII, the patients were brought into a gas chamber which was installed in a bunker
in the court of the fort. After the iron door of the gas chamber was closed it was sealed with clay. The victims
had to stay in the gas chamber while the SS installed gas cylinders with carbon monoxide gas besides the entrance.
When all victims were gassed, a special group of regular prisoners were forced to open the door and to remove the
corpses which were then loaded onto trucks and driven away.
Most probably the Nazis killed around 10,000–15,000 persons at Fort VII by torture, executions and gassing.
Only 479 victims can be proved. Today Fort VII is a memorial of martyrdom.
© ARC 2005