During the German occupation of Poland, the Wartheland played a distinctive role in the persecution and extermination of Jews. It is there that German Nazis developed methods of murdering people and built the first extermination camp in the history of humanity where they partly realized the process of the 'final solution of the local Jewish issue' even before the Wannsee conference, murdering there about two hundred thousand people. The remaining persons of Jewish origin from the area were murdered mostly at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. They were for the most part prisoners previously concentrated in the ghetto in Lódz. Until its close-down in 1944 the Lódz ghetto functioned as a peculiar kind of factory, operating according to the principles of a concentration camp with a large slave workforce whose labor was exploited both inside and outside the ghetto. Material evidence of the murderous exploitation of Jews during German occupation has remained even until today (e.g. in Poznan: the artificial lakes Rusalka and Malta, the cemetery at Milostowo, the communication routes to Berlin and the airport at Krzesiny). The above mentioned examples are manifestations of a brutal termination of many centuries of coexistence of Poles and Jews on this territory, a coexistence which was problematic but also based on partnership.
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