The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Interrogation
Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko

The Soviet Protocols

From Interrogration of Defendant

February 20, 1945. I, Lieutenant EPPEL', Investigator of the Fourth Department of the "SMERSH" Directorate of Counterintelligence of the Second Belorussian Front interrogated as defendant -

LELEKO, Pavel Vladimirovich, born in 1922, native of the village of Chaplinka, Chaplinka District, Nikolayev Region, Ukrainian, citizen of the USSR.

The interrogation began at 10.10 a.m.

The "death camp" was located on an area of about 7-8 hectares, which was fenced in by two rows of barbed wire reaching 3 (three) meters in height. Beyond the barbed wire stretched a continuous line of metallic anti-tank obstacles enmeshed in barbed wire. The entire area of the camp, in the shape of an irregular quadrangle, was divided into three sections by rows of barbed wire. The barbed wire was interwined with bushes and branches in order to prevent the possibility of seeing from one section into the other.

After the barrack had been camouflaged into a railroad station, the people brought to the death camp did not suspect the horrors closing in on them.

Two more barracks stood about 70-100 meters from the above mentioned two barracks situated by the railroad branch and serving as storage space for belongings and clothing of the doomed prisoners. One of these two barracks served as an undressing place for the women. The men were undressed near the other barrack, right there on the street, winter and summer. The food, belonging and clothing taken from the doomed prisoners were stored inside this second barrack. Inside the women's undressing room there was also a so-called "cashier's office" where the women were ordered to hand over their money, jewelry, and valuable for "safekeeping". Beyond the "cashier's office" booth was a fenced in area where the hair of the women was cut. Men handed over their valuables and money also in a special "cashier's office" situated not far from the second barrack. Both barracks were fenced in by barbed wire.

A road led from the undressing rooms the third section of the "death camp" and terminated at the building where the extermination of people took place.

Flowers grew right by in long boxes. There was no door at the entrance. Instead of it there was a heavy hanging made from a rug. Beyond it started a narrow passage which ended at the opposite wall. To the right and to the left of the passage there were five doors that closed hermetically and led into the special chambers where the poisoning took place. The chambers were about six meters long and as wide, about two to five-three meters high.. In the center of the celing there was an electric light bulb in which there was no wiring and there were two "shower" heads through which poisonous gas was fed into the chamber.

The walls, floor and ceiling of the chamber were of cement. On the opposite side to the entrance door there was another, likewise hermetically closing door, through which the bodies of the poisoned people were removed. As many as 500 men, women and children were pushed into the chambers indiscriminately. Eight chambers out of the ten existing in the gas chamber building were used to poison people. In the two remaining ones, there were two powerful German engines, about 1.5 meters high - two engines in all. Each engine fed gas to four gas chambers. Some 20 meters from the above mentioned gas chamber building stood the building of the old gas chambers, which contained only three gas chambers. This building functioned until 1943. But as it was unable to handle the enormous number of people brought by the Germans to the "death camp", the new, large gas chamber building that I have described above was built.

After it came into use, the old one was no longer utilized. An incinerator from the burning of bodies was situated about 10 meters beyond the large gas chamber building. It had the shape of a cement pit about one meter deep and 20 meters long. A series of furnaces covered on the top with four rows of rails extended along the entire length of one of the walls of the pit. The bodies were laid on the rails, caught fire from the flames burning in the furnaces and burned. About 1000 bodies were burned simultaneously. The burning process lasted up to five hours. Not far from the gas chamber building, also in the third section, there was a barrack housing the working crew composed of doomed prisoners and which comprised up to 500 persons.

The testimony has been written down from my words correctly, has been read by me - LELEKO


The Excerpt is true: FIRST DEPUTY PROCURATOR OF THE CRIMEAN REGION, Senior Councillor of Justice /KUPTSOV/

"31" January 1978

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

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