The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Operation Reinhard:

"The largest single massacre action of the Holocaust, Operation Reinhard, which lasted twenty-one months, from March 1942 to November 1943, was carried out by, and accomplished according to the plans of, the Nazi extermination machine. It was an integral and substantial part of the overall plan for the `Final Solution of the Jewish Problem.'

"The commanders of Operation Reinhard, Globocnik, Wirth, and the SS men subordinate to them, succeeded in creating an efficient yet simple system of mass extermination by using relatively scanty resources. In each of the death camps -- in Belzec, in Sobibor, and in Treblinka -- a limited number of 20 to 35 Germans were stationed for purposed of command and supervision, and about 90 to 130 Ukrainians were responsible for guard duties. All the physical work of the extermination process was imposed on 700 to 1,000 Jewish prisoners who were kept in each camp.

"The layout and structure of the camps were adapted to serve the extermination system and procedure. they were relatively small and compact, which enabled permanent and strict control over the entire area and all activities in the camp. The material used to build the camps -- lumber and bricks -- and the means used for extermination -- a simple motor vehicle and ordinary petrol -- were readily available in the immediate vicinity. Local workers and Jewish prisoners built the camps. All these elements made the entire operation independent of outside and distant factors. ... The killing system, as developed by Wirth, enabled the murder of tens of thousands of Jews every day in the three death camps under his jurisdiction.


"The ruse continued even after the Jews arrived in the camps. Almost all of the victims went to the gas chambers believing that these were indeed baths. Secrecy, deception, and disguise on the one hand, and little chance for rescue or for hiding among the local population on the other hand, enabled the Nazis to keep their extermination machine running smoothly.

"But those Jews who were selected for work in the camps and who were aware of what was going on there did not give up. Prisoners in Sobibor and Treblinka succeeded, despite the strict control and surveillance under which they were kept, in carrying out individual escapes and in staging an uprising accompanied by a mass escape. The uprisings ensured the survival of hundreds of prisoners and revealed the secrets of the death camps to the world. These survivors were the main witnesses at the Sobibor and Treblinka trials in the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as at other trials. The perpetrators did not succeed in their attempts to bury and burn the truth of the camps together with the victims.

" BELZEC, SOBIBOR, & TREBLINKA: An integral part of the Nazi killing machine in occupied Poland - these camps served one purpose, and one purpose only - the total destruction of the Jewish people.

"The Nazi leaders adopted and executed a deliberate and massive campaign of genocide which has been documented beyond dispute and is accepted by an entire world, excepting only those Neo-Nazi elements cloaking their continuing hatred of the Jewish people in pseudo-historical nonsense.

"The existence of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz, Maidanek, Chelmno and others is beyond question. The purpose for which these camps were created is also beyond question.

"Others have pointed out that any system of justice can be said to be flawed, in that it represents only the reality of its time. I am not here to argue that point. Instead, I provide enough information for those who wish to pursue it to their own conclusions - in this case, the legal records of the German people, specifically as they relate to the three camps noted at the beginning of this article:

"Nazi criminals who served in these camps stood trial in West Germany. The trial of the SS men who had served in Belzec was held in Munich in January 1965. The primary defendant was Josef Oberhauser; there were six others. The trial of the SS men who had served in Sobibor was held in Hagen and lasted fifteen months, from September 1965 until December 1966. The leading defendent was Kurt Bolender; there were eleven others. The first Treblinka trial, at which ten of the SS men who served in the camp were broght to trial, amonth them Kurt Franz, the deputy commander, was held in Dusseldorf between October 1964 and August 1965. The second Treblinka trial, at which Franz Stangl, the commander of the camp, was tried, was also held in Dusseldorf, from September 1969 to December 1970." *

* Excerpted from....

BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard Death Camps Indiana University Press - Yitzhak Arad, 1987. ISBN 0-253-3429-7

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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