The majority of Holocaust victims were murdered by the Nazis in six
killing centers strictly intended for this purpose. The first extermination
camp was Chelmno, which began operating as early as December 1941. It was in
this camp that hundreds of thousands of Jews mostly from Western Poland, were
murdered in gas vans. In March 1942, the Belzec Death Camp began to operate in
the Generalgovernement area of occupied Poland. A few months later Sobibor and Treblinka were also operational.
At these three camps, which functioned as part of the operation for the
liquidation of Polish Jewry ("Operation Reinhard"), more than 1.5 million Jews
from Poland were murdered. Tens of thousands of Jews from other countries were
also murdered there. Hundreds of thousands of additional Jews, especially from
Poland, were killed in the Majdanek Extermination Camp. The largest
Extermination Camp of all was Auschwitz-Birkenau where the Nazis murdered at
least 1.1 million Jews from all over Europe.
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