Rankweil wrote:It might be helpful to establish a timeline.
We know Jews were deported to camps in 1942 and 1943 and we know that they were gone by the time the Russians arrived at the camps. Focusing on Chelmno, that gives us between summer of 1944 (when Jews from Lodz were transited through there) and March 1945 (by which time the Russians took the Warthegau).
Knowing precisely where the front was at that time could also help explain where, ultimately, those Jews ended up. The Germans could send them as far as western Russia in 1942 but only as far as further east in Poland by late 1944. Do we know whether the ultimate destination changed from time to time?
Hannover, very helpfully, reproduced chapter 15 of Mattogno's 'Chelmo' which discusses ultimate destinations of Lodz Jews somewhat. I'll summarise the useful quotations:
“Subsequently rumors had it that the Jews would be transferred from Lodz to the reclamation areas of the Pripyat marshes and the Jewish agricultural colonies near Krivoi Rog, Ukraine.”
- Reitlinger, Gerald, La soluzione finale. Il tentativo di sterminio degli Ebrei d’Europa 1939-1945. Il Saggiatore, Milano, 1965. Page 115.
“Officially the purpose of this deportation is not revealed to the deportees, but in private the Germans have launched a different version: a center for the entire district will set up at Chemno, which will be one stage of the transfer into the region of Pinsk or to Galicia.”
- From Report entitled “Masowe egzekucje ydów w pow. Kolskim” (Mass Execution of Jews in the Kolo District) of 25 March 1942. Maria Tyszkowa 1992b, p. 52. The report was published in 1943 in: Apenszlak 1943, pp. 115-118.
“In the second half of November 1941 the news spread in the cities of the Kolo district (Warthbrücken district) that the entire Jewish population of this area had to be transferred to the region of Pinsk or to eastern Galicia.”
- Sakowska, Ruta, Die zweite Etappe ist der Tod. NS-Ausrottungspolitik gegen die polnischen Juden gesehen mit den Augen der Opfer. Edition Entrich, Berlin, 1993.
“In the [Lodz] ghetto the word goes around persistently that the first two transports of evacuees were directed to occupied France, the other in Bessarabia.”
- 'Chronicle of the Lodz ghetto' bulletin no. 24 of 1-3 May 1942.
“Lodz was more or less cut off from the outside world. There was no direct contact but it had been learned that ‘unproductive elements’ had been deported from Lodz to Minsk, Kovno and Riga.”
- Zionist delegate Meleh “Noi” Neustadt, in two long reports of 25 and 27 May 1942 addressed to Palestinian Jewish institutions as quoted in Laqueur, Walter, The Terrible Secret, Penguin Books, New York, 1982.