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The Gas Chamber at Fort VII in Poznan

Last Update 17 December 2005


The Gas Chamber
In October 1939 the SS Sonderkommando Lange arrived in Owinska (a town about 13 km north of Poznan). In the second half of October 1939, 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 Fort VII in Poznan or later in gas vans which drove them to secluded forests in the vicinity of Poznan where their corpses were buried in mass graves. The nurse Pelagia Gumna testified that some vans drove into the direction of Poznan (13 km south of Owinska), others to the direction of Murowana Golina (10 km north of Owinska).

Fort VII
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 10,00015,000 persons at Fort VII by torture, executions and gassing. Only 479 victims can be proved. Today Fort VII is a memorial of martyrdom.

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