The small Polish village of Chelmno was the site of the first Nazi death camp. In German, Chelmno was known as Kulmhof. Unlike the larger and better-known death camps that followed – Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek, Chelmno used mobile gas vans rather than stationary gas chambers.
The village itself lies only 30 km northwest of Lodz in what was the Watherland Administrative Zone. The camp was established by the SS to annihilate the Jews of Lodz and the wider Watherland region. The camp operated from December 1941 until March 1943, with a brief reopening in June / July 1944.