Valley of Death (Polish language: Dolina Śmierci ) in Fordon, Bydgoszcz, northern Poland, is a site of Nazi German mass murder and a mass grave of 5,000 – 6,600 Poles and Jews murdered in October and November 1939 by the local Germans (Selbstschutz) and the Gestapo. The murders were a part of Intelligenzaktion in Pomerania, a Nazi action aimed at the elimination of the Polish intelligentsia in Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia, which included the former Pomeranian Voivodeship ("Polish Corridor"), at the beginning of World War II. It was part of a larger genocidal action that took place in all German occupied Poland, code-named Operation Tannenberg.
Victims, mainly Polish intelligentsia: teachers, priests, office workers, were listed on so called Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen (a list of people destined to be executed, made by Third Reich officials before World War II) and another list made by Gestapo during the war.
The perpetrators were mainly "Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz" - paramilitary formation composed of members of the German minority in pre-war Poland and Einsatzkommando 16 of SS Einsatzgruppen under command of SS-Sturmbannführer dr Rudolf Tröger. Between September 1939 and April 1940 Selbstschutz - together with other Nazi-German formations - murdered tens of thousands of Poles in Pomerania.
Established investigations point to Ludolf von Alvensleben and Jakub Löllgen, as the main culprits of mass murder. Other involved in the crimes were:
- Sturmbannführers Erich Spaarmann, Meier, Schnugg
- SS-Sturmbannführer dr Rudolf Tröger,
- SS Baks
- Volksdeutsche Wilhelm Neumann, Herbert Beitsch, Otto Erlichmann (Nazi mayor of Fordon), Walter Gassmann.
Other Nazi German mass murder sites in Bydgoszcz area are the villages of Tryszczyn and Borówno.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valley of Death.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bydgoszcz during World War II.|
- List of Polish Martyrdom sites
- Jochen Böhler, Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Jürgen Matthäus: Einsatzgruppen in Polen. Warszawa: Bellona, 2009. ISBN 978-83-11-11588-0
- History of Fordon 1939-1945 (Polish)
- Extermination of Polish intelligentsia on Pomerania (Polish)
- Valley of Death - pictures and short description (Polish)
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