The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/yvs16.05

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Yad Vashem Studies XVI:  Operation Reinhard (5/11)
Summary: The Construction of Treblinka
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project -
Keywords: Yad Vashem,treblinka,sobibor,belzec

Archive/File: orgs/israeli/yad-vashem/yvs16.05
Last-modified: 1993/05/19
XRef: yad_vashem index

                       YAD VASHEM STUDIES
                     Edited by Aharon Weiss

                          YAD VASHEM
                        JERUSALEM 1984

                    "Operation Reinhard": 
       Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka

                         Yitzhak Arad 

      The Construction of the Treblinka Extermination Camp 

   Construction of Treblinka began after Belzec and Sobibor were in
   operation.  The experience gained from the installation and the
   extermination procedures in those two camps was taken into
   consideration in the planning and building of Treblinka.  Thus, it
   became the most "perfect" extermination camp of Operation Reinhard.

   The camp was situated in the northeastern part of the General
   Government, not far from Malkinia, a town with a railroad station on
   the main Warsaw-Bialystok line and close to the Malkinia-Siedlce

   The camp was erected in a sparsely populated region, 4 km. from the
   village of Treblinka and the railroad station. The site chosen for
   the camp was wooded and thus naturally concealed. Since the spring
   of 1941 a punishment camp had been located a few kilometers away,
   where Polish and Jewish prisoners were made to process raw material
   from a gravel pit for frontier fortifications.

   At the end of April or the beginning of May 1942, an SS-unit decided
   on the location.  The size and master plan of Treblinka were
   identical to those of Sobibor.  The construction of the extermination
   camp began at the end of May or beginning of June 1942.  Richard
   Thomalla was in charge; he had completed his construction job in
   Sobibor and had been relieved by Stangl in April 1942.  In building
   the gas chambers he was assisted by SS-Unterscharfu"hrer Erwin
   Lambert, a chief-of-construction for technical matters from the
   "Euthanasia" program. The extermination sector was located in the
   southwest, in an area measuring 200 x 250 m., totally separated from
   the rest of the camp by barbed wire. As on the outside, branches
   were intertwined with the barbed wire to hide it from view.  For the
   same reason, the entrances were placed behind a special partition.
   The gas chambers were housed in a massive brick building in the
   center.  The access paths, including the "tube," in Treblinka named
   "Street to Heaven" by the SS-men, were model led on those in Belzec
   and Sobibor; the same applied to the "reception camp" and
   "accommodation camp."

   During the first stage, three gas chambers were in operation, each of
   them,much like those in Sobibor,4 x 4 m. in size and 2.6 m. high.
   A diesel engine producing poisonous carbon monoxide, as well as a
   generator which supplied the whole camp with electricity, were housed
   in a built-on room.

   The entrance doors of the gas chambers opened into a passage in front
   of the building; each door was 1.8 m. high and 90 cm. wide. They
   could be hermetically closed and bolted from the outside. Inside
   each gas chamber, opposite the entrance door, was a thick door made
   of wooden beams, 2.5 m. high and 1.8 m. wide, which could also be
   hermetically closed.  The walls in the gas chambers were covered with
   white tiles up to a certain height, shower heads had been installed,
   and water pipes ran along the ceiling--all this so as to maintain the
   "showers" fiction. In reality the pipes conducted the poisonous gas
   into the chambers. When the doors were shut, it was compeltely dark

   To the east of the gas chambers were huge ditches into which the
   corpses were thrown. They had been dug with an excavator from the
   gravel pit in Treblinka. Prisoners had to participate in this work.
   The ditches were 50 m. long, 25 m. wide, and 10 m. deep. A
   narrow-gauge track had been laid from the gas chambers to transport
   the corpses to the ditches.  Prisoners had to push the trolleys.

   The main extermination installations were completed by mid-June 1942.
   The murder operations began on July 23, 1942. 

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