Wartime Aerial Photos of Treblinka Cast New Doubt on Death Camp Claims
by Mark Weber and Andrew Allen
Treblinka is widely regarded as the second most important German wartime
extermination center. Only Auschwitz-Birkenau is supposed to have claimed
Treblinka became the focus of worldwide attention in 1987-1988 during the
14-month trial in Jerusalem of John (Ivan) Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born American
factory worker. As Treblinka’s Ivan the Terrible, Demjanjuk
supposedly operated the machinery used to gas hundreds of thousands of Jews
there. Citing testimony by Jewish survivors, the Israeli court that condemned
him to death in April 1988 declared that more than 850,000 Jews were killed
at Treblinka between July 1942 and August 1943.
After the death sentence was handed down, Demjanjuk’s family was able to
discover previously suppressed evidence — much of it from Soviet Russian
archives — indicating that the real Ivan the Terrible was another
Ukrainian named Ivan Marchenko (or Marczenko). This new evidence discredited
the courtroom testimony of five Jewish camp survivors, each of whom had
positively identified Demjanjuk as the sadistic mass murderer
of Treblinka. (note 1)
As historians know, and as common sense would suggest, such decades-old
testimony is far less trustworthy than contemporary records or forensic
evidence. (note 2)
And yet, Treblinka’s reputation as a mass extermination center is based
almost entirely on precisely such subjective and unprovable testimony by
former prisoners — evidence that has proven to be notoriously unreliable
in several major trials of alleged Nazi war criminals. (note
There is no documentary evidence that Treblinka was an extermination center.
In fact, contemporary records suggest that the camp had a very different
Aerial reconnaissance photographs taken in 1944 of the Treblinka death
camp site — and forgotten for almost 45 years in the National Archives
in Washington, DC — cast serious doubts on the widely accepted story that
it was a mass extermination center.
Discovered in 1989, and published here for the first time in the United
States, these German reconnaissance photos corroborate other evidence indicating
that Treblinka was actually a transit camp. (note 4)
These photographs indicate that the remarkably small camp was not isolated,
or even particularly well guarded. (They clearly show that fields where
Polish farmers planted and cultivated crops were directly adjacent to the
Moreover, the camp’s burial area quite obviously appears too small to contain
the hundreds of thousands of bodies supposedly buried there. (Casting doubt
on the widely accepted story of hundreds of thousands of Treblinka victims,
these photos suggest instead that only those deportees who died during the
sometimes protracted rail journey to the camp were buried there.)
The generally accepted story today is that hundreds of thousands of Jews
were killed at Treblinka in gas chambers with poisonous exhaust from engines.
But the original Treblinka extermination story was that Jews
were steamed to death there in steam chambers.
According to an eyewitness account received in November 1942
in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organization, Jews were exterminated
in death rooms at Treblinka with steam coming out of the
numerous holes in the pipes. (note 5) In August 1943, the New York
Times reported that two million Jews had already been killed at Treblinka
by steaming them to death. (note 6)
The Treblinka steam story is also given in detail in The Black Book of Polish
Jewry, a work published in New York in 1943 and sponsored by
Albert Einstein, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Congressman Sol Bloom, New York
Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and other personalities. (note 7) Another book,
Lest We Forget, published in New York in 1943 by the World Jewish Congress,
describes in detail how Jews were steamed to death, and provides a diagram
showing the location of the purported boiler room that produced
the live steam. (note 8)
According to a 1944 eyewitness account compiled by the OSS,
the principle US intelligence agency, Jews at Treblinka were in general
killed by steam and not by gas as had been at first suspected. (note
At the main Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, two conflicting stories were given:
steaming and gassing. Former Treblinka prisoner Samuel Rajzman testified
that Jews were killed there in gas chambers. (note 10) (To confuse matters
still more, a few months earlier Rajzman claimed that during the time he
was in Treblinka, Jews were suffocated to death there with a
machine that pumped air out of death chambers.) (note 11)
American prosecutors at the main Nuremberg trial supported the steam story.
As proof, a Polish government report dated December 5, 1945, was submitted
as prosecution exhibit USA-293. It charged that Jews were killed at the
camp by suffocating them in steam-filled chambers. This report,
which says nothing about poison gas killings, was published in the official
Nuremberg trial record as document PS-3311. (note 12) An American prosecutor
quoted from this report during his address to the Tribunal on December 14,
1945. (note 13)
Although no reputable historian now supports the steam story,
and little has been heard of it during the last several decades, it was
revived in a widely-circulated booklet published in 1979 and 1985 by the
influential Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. (note 14)
There may have been a factual basis for the steam chamber stories.
It is quite possible that there was indeed some kind of steaming operation
at Treblinka — but one designed to kill disease-carrying lice, not people.
Such disinfection steaming was commonly used in German camps for Allied
prisoners of war. (note 15)
Shortly after the war, the World Jewish Congress published The Black Book,
a 559-page volume of real and imagined wartime atrocities against Jews.
At Treblinka alone, the book alleges, three million persons were killed.
Three diabolical techniques, including poison gas and steam, were supposedly
used there to kill some 10,000 Jews daily. But the most widespread
method consisted of pumping all the air out from the chambers with
large special pumps. (note 16) A former inmate testified shortly after
the war that Treblinka’s victims were poisoned by the different gasses
or asphyxiated when the chamber was turned into a vacuum and all the air
sucked out. (note 17)
In the Nuremberg trial of Oswald Pohl, U.S. Judge Michael A. Musmanno declared
that death was inflicted here [at Treblinka] by gas and steam, as
well as by electric current. Citing Nuremberg document PS-3311, Musmanno
declared: After being filled up to capacity the chambers were hermetically
closed and steam was let in. (note 18)
Adolf Eichmann, the wartime head of the SS Jewish affairs section, said
in 1961 during pre-trial interrogation in Israel that during the war he
was told that Jews were gassed at Treblinka with potassium
cyanide. (note 19)
One of the strangest Treblinka extermination stories, which appeared in
September 1942 in a Polish underground periodical, claimed that Jews were
killed there with a delayed action gas: (note 20)
H2>BLOCKQUOTE>They enter it [the gas chamber] in groups of 300-500 people.
Each group is immediately closed hermetically inside, and gassed. The gas
does not affect them immediately, because the Jews still have to continue
on to the pits that are a few dozen meters away, and whose depth is 30 meters.
There they fall unconscious, and a digger covers them with a thin layer
of earth. Then another group arrives. H2>/BLOCKQUOTE>
According to the testimony of yet another eyewitness, a Jew
named Oskar Berger who escaped from the camp, many Jews were systematically
put to death at Treblinka by shooting them with rifle and machine-gun fire.
In recent years, the most widely-circulated story has been that Jews were
gassed at Treblinka with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of a diesel engine.
However, as American engineer Friedrich Berg has established, this story
is improbable for technical reasons. (note 23) In spite of the obnoxious
odor of diesel exhaust, diesel engines produce much smaller quantities of
toxic carbon monoxide than ordinary gasoline motors. (note 24) It would
thus be difficult efficiently to gas large numbers of people using diesel
exhaust. A normal gasoline engine would be much more logical. (note 25)
It is important to keep in mind that the evidence now usually
cited for diesel gassing at Treblinka is no more credible than the evidence
that was once presented for steaming and suffocating. Apparently the steaming
and suffocating stories have been dropped for the sake of credible consistency.
Solid evidence for gassings at Treblinka has proven to be very elusive.
For example, it turned out that none of the witnesses in the 1951 West German
Treblinka court case ever actually saw anyone being gassed.
The type of gas used to kill the people there [Treblinka] cannot be
determined with certainty because none of the witnesses was able to witness
this procedure, the judges declared in their verdict. (note 26)
At least some former Treblinka prisoners testified in postwar West German
trials that they not only never saw a gas chamber, but did not even hear
about gassings from others. (note 27)
Holocaust historians today are not able to agree about the number of homicidal
gas chambers at Treblinka. Raul Hilberg maintains that there
were three at first, but because they were allegedly not adequate for the
job, more were built later on. There were eventually six or perhaps ten
chambers, he reports. (note 28) Others have reported the existence of 13
gas chambers at Treblinka. (note 29)
One of the most memorable testimonies about Treblinka presented in Shoah,
the nine-and-a-half-hour Holocaust film by French Jewish film maker Claude
Lanzmann, is that of Abraham Bomba. He told how he and other Jewish barbers
cut the hair of the naked Jews who were about to be gassed. They worked
inside the gas chamber (he always spoke of one chamber), which
was around four by four meters (about 12 feet by 12 feet). Bomba
also reported that 140 or 150 women, with children, as well
as 16 or 17 barbers, were inside this small room. In addition, there were
benches where the women sat while their hair was cut, as well as two or
more German guards.
The barbers had to leave the chamber for five minutes while the victims
were gassed, Bomba said, and it took just one minute to clear out the 140
or so corpses, and clean the floor and walls, before everything was ready
for the next batch of victims. (note 30)
Bomba’s moving testimony, which conservative writer George Will called the
most stunning in this shattering film, is simply not credible.
Treblinka Labor Camp
About one mile (1.5 km) from the extermination camp, which was
known as Treblinka II, was a penal labor camp for Poles and
Jews known as Treblinka I. It was not at all secret. The 1941
directive announcing the establishment of the Treblinka Labor Camp
was published in both Polish and German in widely distributed official journals.
(note 31) Poles and Jews worked in a large sand and gravel quarry at the
Treblinka labor camp. (note 32)
As wartime aerial reconnaissance photographs clearly show, the Treblinka
T-I labor camp was located at the end of the rail spur on which the Treblinka
T-II extermination (transit) camp was also located. This fact
strengthens the thesis that the T-II camp was not particularly secret, since
penal labor prisoners being taken by train to and from the publicly known
T-I camp passed directly by the supposedly top secret T-II extermination
camp. (note 33)
Documents found after the war confirm that large numbers of Jews were deported
to Treblinka in 1942 and 1943. German railway records report the transfer
of trainloads of settlers (Umsiedler) and workers
to Treblinka from various places in Poland and from other countries. (note
In July 1942, a senior German railway official reported to the chief of
Himmler’s personal staff that 5,000 Jews were being transported daily to
Treblinka. (note 35) An August 3, 1942, German Ostbahn railway
directive similarly reported that special trains would be carrying resettlers
from Warsaw to Treblinka daily, until further notice. (note 36)
Interestingly, it was not until September 1, 1942, that the Treblinka train
station was closed to passenger rail travel by the general public (to
permit a smooth handling of the special resettlement trains), which
suggests that German officials were not particularly concerned with keeping
the deportations or the station secret. (note 37)
Other records mention trains to Treblinka in March 1943 from Vienna, Bulgaria
and Greece. (note 38) From Vienna and Luxembourg, Jews reportedly arrived
at the camp in passenger train coaches, and the deportees were given food
and medical care during their journey. (note 39) In at least one case, a
train with sleeping cars and a dining car arrived at Treblinka. (note 40)
German railway records have been cited as evidence that hundreds of thousands
of Jews were exterminated at Treblinka. (note 41) While there is little
doubt that these documents are genuine, and that they confirm transports
of Jews to Treblinka, they are not proof of an extermination program. (note
If Treblinka was not an extermination center, what was it? As already mentioned,
the balance of evidence indicates that Treblinka II — along with Belzec
and Sobibor — was a transit camp, where Jewish deportees were stripped
of their property and valuables before being transferred eastwards into
German-occupied Soviet territories. (note 43)
The generally-accepted story is that Treblinka II was a pure
extermination center, from which no Jew was permitted to leave alive. (note
44) However, credible reports of deportations of Jews from Treblinka refute
the allegation that all Jews sent there were destined for extermination,
and indicate instead that the camp functioned as a transit center.
In the aftermath of the April 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, for example,
Jews were transported from Warsaw to Treblinka II. As some of the deportees
later confirmed, after a selection in the camp, trainloads of
hundreds of Jews were taken from Treblinka to Lublin (Majdanek), and possibly
other camps. (note 45) Several thousand Jews (at least) were transferred
by German authorities from Treblinka to other camps, a postwar German court
determined. (note 46)
Letters and postcards that arrived in the Warsaw ghetto from Jews who, by
all accounts, had been deported to Treblinka, indicate that the camp was
a transit center from where Jews were resettled in the occupied Soviet territories.
These messages, which arrived from settlements and camps in Belarus (Byelorussia),
Ukraine, and even Russia proper (near Smolensk), were written by Jews who
had been deported in 1942. Some letters and cards had been sent by mail
and some had arrived through the underground. Many mentioned that the senders
were working hard, but confirmed that they (and often their children) were
being fed. (note 47)
Completely contrary to its supposed character as a top secret extermination
center, Treblinka was neither secret nor even closely guarded, as both former
inmates and officials have confirmed. Secrecy? Good heavens, there
was no secrecy about Treblinka, Jewish prisoner Richard Glazer later
testified. All the Poles between there and Warsaw must have known
about it, and lived off the proceeds. All the peasants came to barter, the
Warsaw whores did business with the Ukrainians — it was a circus for all
of them. Polish farmers worked the fields that directly adjoined the
camp. And many others, said Jewish survivor Berek Rojzman, came
to the fence to barter, mostly with the Ukrainians, but with us too.
Even regular German concentration camps such as Dachau and Buchenwald were
much more closely guarded than Treblinka. As already mentioned, aerial reconnaissance
photographs taken in 1944 confirm that the area around Treblinka was not
cleared. The photos show that one perimeter of the camp passed through a
wooded area, and that cultivated fields where Polish farmers worked were
directly adjacent to the camp perimeter. (note 49)
How Many Victims?
Shortly after the end of the war, the World Jewish Congress and at least
one former Treblinka prisoner alleged that more than three million Jews
had been exterminated there. (note 50) More recent estimates of the number
of people allegedly killed at Treblinka range from between 700,000 (Leon
Poliakov and Uwe Adam), 750,000 (Raul Hilberg and Encyclopaedia Judaica),
870,000 (Yitzhak Arad), to more than 900,000 (Wolfgang Scheffler and Washington
Post). (note 51)
There is no documentary or physical evidence for any of these figures, which
are simply conjectural estimates.
Layout and Size
Diagrams published in recent years that show Treblinka as a neatly organized,
rectangular-shaped camp are not accurate. (note 52) As already mentioned,
though, wartime aerial reconnaissance photographs confirm that the Treblinka
II camp was actually unsymmetrically four-sided and irregularly shaped.
One of the most remarkable features of the Treblinka death camp
is its small size. The entire Treblinka II camp area was only 32 or 33 acres
(13 hectares), or about onetwentieth of a square mile. (note 54) Even smaller
was the alleged extermination area of the camp, which was 200
by 250 meters in size (or five hectares) according to purportedly authoritative
sources. (note 55)
Poland’s Central Commission announced shortly after the war
that the burial or ditches area where the bodies of Treblinka’s
victims were buried (before they were supposedly later dug up for burning)
was about two hectares or five acres (or some 20,235 square meters). (note
56) And according to a diagram in a book about Treblinka by Jewish Holocaust
historian Alexander Donat, the camp’s ditches area was not more
than 80 or 100 meters in length and about 50 meters wide — that is, a maximum
of 5,000 square meters or half a hectare. (note 57)
By comparison, the mass graves area in the Katyn forest (near Smolensk),
which held the bodies of some 4,500 Polish officers who had been killed
by Soviet secret police and buried there in 1940, measured about 500 square
meters. (note 58)
In short, it is very difficult to accept that anything like 700,000 or 800,000
bodies could have been buried in the minuscule area allegedly set aside
at Treblinka for this purpose.
Between April and July 1943, the corpses of Treblinka’s hundreds of thousands
of victims were allegedly dug up from the burial pits and burned with dry
wood and branches on grids made of rails in batches of 2,000 or 2,500.
The residual ash and bits of bone were dumped back into the
burial pits, and covered with a layer of sand and dirt two meters deep.
This was done, it is said, in order to eliminate the physical evidence of
mass extermination. (note 59)
Although enormous amounts of fuel would have been needed to cremate the
hundreds of thousands of alleged corpses, there is no documentary record
or witness recollection of the great quantities of firewood that would have
been required. According to Polish-Jewish historian Rachel Auerbach, fuel
to burn bodies was not needed at Treblinka because the bodies of woman,
which had more fat, were used to kindle, or more accurately put, to
build the fires among the piles of corpses. Even more incredible,
blood, too, was found to be first-class combustion material,
she wrote. (note 60)
A wartime Warsaw ghetto internee, Dr. Adolf Berman, testified in the 1961
Eichmann trial that he visited the Treblinka camp site shortly after the
Soviet occupation of Poland. He told the Jerusalem court that he saw an
area of several square kilometers covered with bones and skulls, and nearby
tens upon tens of thousands of shoes, many of them children’s shoes.
Berman’s testimony, which was considered one of the most emotionally moving
of the Eichmann trial, is completely inconsistent with known facts. For
one thing, the entire Treblinka camp was much smaller than one square kilometer
in size, and no other witness has confirmed the presence of tens of
thousands of shoes.
Jewish historian Rachel Auerbach, a member of an official Polish commission
that inspected the camp site in November 1945 — that is, a few months after
the end of the war — reported finding large human bones, rotted masses
of corpses, pieces of half-rotted corpses, and fully
dressed corpses, at the Treblinka camp site. (note 62)
In the area where the gas chambers were supposed to have been located, the
commission’s team of 30 excavation workers reportedly found human
remains, partially in the process of decay, and an unspecified amount
of ash. Untouched sandy soil was reached at 7.5 meters, at which point the
digging was halted. An accompanying photograph of an excavated pit reveals
some large bones. (note 63)
Poland’s Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes
reported that large quantities of ashes mixed with sand, among which
are numerous human bones, often with the remains of decomposing tissues,
were found in the five acre (two hectare) burial area during an examination
of the site shortly after the end of the war. (note 64)
The presence of uncremated human remains is not consistent with the often-repeated
allegation that all such remains were thoroughly destroyed. Significantly,
none of the Polish reports specifies the quantity of human remains, the
numbers of corpses, or the amount of ash found at the camp site, which suggests
that evidence of hundreds of thousands of victims was not found. (note 65)
In spite of its often inconsistent, contradictory and implausible character,
testimony indicating that many Jews lost their lives at Treblinka cannot
easily be dismissed. Many Jewish prisoners doubtless perished during their
rail journey to the camp site, and were almost certainly buried there. Furthermore,
it is plausible and even likely that hundreds and perhaps thousands of Jews
who were too weak or ill to continue the eastbound journey from the camp
were killed there by officials acting on their own authority.
All the same, there is no hard or compelling evidence that Treblinka was
a mass extermination center where hundreds of thousands of Jews were systematically
put to death. To the contrary, credible reports of transfers of Jews from
Treblinka eastwards to the occupied Soviet territories, the relative lack
of secrecy and security in the camp, and the small size of the area where
the bodies were supposedly buried, all suggest instead that this was a transit
F. Dannen, How Terrible is Ivan?, Vanity Fair (New York),
June 1992, pp. 132 ff. New Evidence: Demjanjuk a Nazi Guard, Probably
Not ‘Ivan’, Los Angeles Times, January 16, 1992. C. Haberman, Soviet
Files Are Presented… , The New York Times, June 2, 1992, p. A6.
On the unreliability of such testimony, see John Cobden’s review of
Witness for the Defense (by E. Loftus and K. Ketcham) in The Journal of
Historical Review, Summer 1991, pp. 238-249. Samuel Gringauz, a Jewish
historian who was himself interned in the Kaunas ghetto during the war,
wrote: Most of the memoirs and reports [of Holocaust survivors] are
full of preposterous verbosity, graphomanic exaggeration, dramatic effects,
overestimated self-inflation, dilettante philosophizing, would-be lyricism,
unchecked rumors, bias, partisan attacks and apologies. (Jewish Social
Studies, New York, January 1950, Vol. 12, p. 65.).
On the unreliability of such eyewitness testimony in the
illustrative case of Frank Walus, who was falsely accused of murdering Jews
as a Gestapo officer in Poland, see, for example, The Nazi Who Never
Was, The Washington Post, May 10, 1981, pp. B5, B8.
These aerial reconnaissance photos are on file in the National Archives
(Washington, DC), Cartographic Division (Record Group 373).
Several of these reconnaissance photos were published in Germany in
1990 by Udo Walendy in the booklet Der Fall Treblinka, Historische
Tatsachen, Nr. 44, 1990. (Postfach 1643, D-4973 Vlotho, Germany). See especially
pages 13, 31, 34, 35, 38. In this booklet, Walendy cites specific archival
source references from the US National Archives for these photographs. Unfortunately,
these specific references are not always quite accurate. The specific source
references cited by Walendy are:
GX 12225 (or 122225?), Exp. 257 (and 258, 259?). (November or May 1944)
GX 180 D F 934/44 SK , Exp. 246 (May 18, 1944)
GX 12299 B A -2249, Exp. 014 (July 10, 1944)
GX 72 F 933/44 SK, Exp. 139, 140 (May 13, 1944)
GX 1946 F 2926 /44 SK, Exp. 062 (Sept. 18, 1944)
GX 937 F 13 A 6099, Exp. 74
GX 12250 F 2795 SK, Exp. 045 (Sept. 2, 1944)
GX 12290 F 3086 SK r 2600, Exp. 68 (Oct. 16, 1944)
GX 1946 / 44 SD, Exp. 076.
GX 12373, Exp. 11 (Sept. 2, 1944)
The most important of these Treblinka aerial photographs were made public
for the first time in the United States in January 1991 at a meeting in
Palo Alto, California. (IHR Newsletter, Feb. 1991, p. 3.).
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Polish Historical Society
(Stamford, Connecticut) in compiling this essay.
Soviet wartime aerial reconnaissance photographs of the Treblinka camp
site almost certainly exist, and are very probably still held in Russian
archives. If so, they should be made public.
Likwidacja zydowskiej Warszawy, Treblinka, Biuleytn Zydowskiego
Instytutu Historycznego (Warsaw), Jan.-June 1951, pp. 93-100. Quoted in:
Carlo Mattogno, The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews, The
Journal of Historical Review, Fall 1988, pp. 273-274, 295 (n. 16).
New York Times, Aug. 8, 1943, p. 11. Reprinted in: The Record: The Holocaust
in History (New York: ADL, 1985), p. 10. (The Record was also distributed
as an advertising supplement to the New York Post, April 17, 1978.)
Jacob Apenszlak, ed., The Black Book of Polish Jewry (New York: 1943),
pp. 142-143, 145.
World Jewish Congress, Lest We Forget (New York: 1943), pp. 4, 6-7.
See also the reference to killings at Treblinka by hot steam
in Hitler’s Ten-Year War On the Jews (p. 149), a book published in New York
in 1943 by the Institute of Jewish Affairs, an agency of the
American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.
OSS document, April 13, 1944. National Archives (Washington, DC), Military
Branch, Record Group 226 (OSS records), No. 67231.
International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals Before
the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg: 1947-1949, (blue series),
Vol. 8, p. 325. (Feb. 27, 1946)
Rajzman text in: Yuri Suhl, ed., They Fought Back (New York: 1967),
p. 130. This story also appears in: Isaiah Trunk, Jewish Responses (New
York: 1982), p. 263.
IMT, Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military
Tribunal (IMT blue series/ 1947-1949), vol. 32, pp. 153-158
Also published in: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (NC&A red series/
1946-1948), Vol. 5, pp. 1104-1108. See also: NC&A (red series),
vol. 1, pp. 1005-1006.
IMT, Trial of the Major War Criminals (blue series), vol.
3, p. 567-568.
The Record: The Holocaust in History. (The NYT report of Aug. 8, 1943,
is reproduced here.)
Major S. G. Cowper, A Note on a Disinfestation Plant Used in a
Typhus Hospital for Prisoners of War in Germany, Journal of the Royal
Army Medical Corps, Sept. 1946, Vol. 87, No. 3, pp. 173-176. Typhus,
1922 supplement to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Facsimile reprint in: Carlos
Porter, Made in Russia (1988), p. 364. Globocnik reported in Jan. 1944
that textile goods seized in the course of Aktion Reinhardt
were disinfected. See: 4024-PS. IMT blue series, vol. 34, p.
84. Jacob Seewald, a Polish Jew, spent the war years working as a forester
in a German labor camp. When he came down with a severe illness, he was
transferred to a hospital, where he recovered. After the war he emigrated
to the United States. In a 1983 interview, he recalled that the camp authorities
took us [Jewish workers] into a shower for the steam to kill lice.
There we got no clothes, just a bundle with our names on them. Naked. Then
they turn on the water for a second — scalding water. (John C. Bromely,
Stories from the Darkness, The Denver Post Magazine, Sunday,
June 12, 1983, p. 20.) Similar events at Treblinka may perhaps have provided
a basis for the camp’s steam legend.
Jewish Black Book Comm., The Black Book (1946), pp. 407-408.
Isaiah Trunk, Jewish Responses (New York: 1982), p. 263.
Trials of the War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals
(NMT green series/ Washington, DC: 1949-1953), vol. 5, pp. 1133-1134.
Jochen von Lang, ed., Eichmann Interrogated (New York: 1983), p. 84.
See also: R. Aschenauer, ed., Ich, Adolf Eichmann (1980), pp. 179, 183.
Information Bulletin, Sept. 8, 1942, published by the command
of the Polish underground Armia Krajowa. Quoted in: Yitzhak
Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka (Bloomington: 1987), pp. 353 f.
E. Kogon, Theory and Practice of Hell (New York: Berkley, pb., 1981),
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York: 1985),
p. 878. Treblinka, Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 15, p.
1368. Eugen Kogon, et al., Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen (1986),
p. 163 Yitzhak Arad, Treblinka, in: I. Gutman, ed., Encyclopedia
of the Holocaust, pp. 1483, 1484.
F. Berg, The Diesel Gas Chambers, The Journal of Historical
Review, Spring 1984, pp. 15-46.
R. Schmidt, A. Carey, and R. Kamo, Exhaust Characteristics of
the Automotive Diesel, Society of Automotive Engineers Transactions
(New York), Vol. 75, Sec. 3, 1967, pp. 106, 107. (paper 660550).
Even more logical and efficient than a gasoline engine — in the view
of engineer Friedrich Berg — would have been the Holzgas generator,
which were in very widespread use in Europe during the war years. See: F.
Berg, The Diesel Gas Chambers, The Journal of Historical Review,
Spring 1984, pp. 38-41.
Case against J. Hirtreiter, LG Frankfurt, 1951. Justiz und NS-Verbrechen
(Amsterdam: 1972), Band 8, p. 264 (270 a-4).
Hans Peter Rullmann, Der Fall Demjanjuk (Sonnenbühl: 1987), p.
149. Source cited: Adalbert Rückerl, NS-Vernichtungslager (1977).
An unsatisfactory explanation has been offered for this remarkable testimony:
these witnesses must have been inmates of the nearby Treblinka labor camp,
or for some other reason were never in the extermination section
of the T-II camp.
R. Hilberg, Destruction (1985), p. 879.
Central Commission…, German Crimes in Poland (Warsaw: 1946-1947),
vol. 1, p. 97. Yitzhak Arad, Treblinka, in: I. Gutman, ed.,
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, pp. 1483, 1485.
Shoah (Paris: Fayard, 1985), pp. 126-129. (I am thankful to Dr. Faurisson
for pointing this out.) See also: Bradley R. Smith, Shoah: Abraham
Bomba, the Barber, The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1986,
Directive of Nov. 15, 1941. Amtsblatt für den Distrikt Warschau,
Dec. 16, 1941, p. 116. Facsimile reproduction in: S. Wojtczak, Karny
From: [email protected] (Daniel Keren)
Subject: Re: TREBLINKA
Organization: The World, Public Access Internet, Brookline, MA
References: <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 1996 21:25:23 GMT
Jean-Francois Beaulieu writes:
[Repost of old “revisionist” hogwash]
# Wartime Aerial Photos of Treblinka Cast New Doubt on
# Death Camp Claims
# Aerial reconnaissance photographs taken in 1944 of the
# Treblinka death camp site — and forgotten for almost 45 years
# in the National Archives in Washington, DC — cast serious
# on the widely accepted story that it was a mass extermination
This is truly amazing, as the camp was destroyed after the
rebellion of August 1943. Didn’t bother to check this out, did you?
Maybe my hunch was right: the photos were taken from one of
Zundel’s UFO’s, a light-year away, so, although taken in
1944, they showed what happened in 1943? We have surely heard
“revisionist” claims no less insane than this one…
# Moreover, the camp’s burial area quite obviously appears too
# small to contain the hundreds of thousands of bodies supposedly
# buried there.
Only if you practice “revisionist math”. Do a little exercise.
Compute the volume of an average corpse (remember that many
of the victims were infants and children). Then, compute how
many fit into a mass grave, say 50 X 20 X 8 meters. Allow
some inefficiency in the “packing” of the corpses. Post
your result here.
# According to an eyewitness account received in November 1942
# in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organization,
# Jews were exterminated in death rooms at Treblinka with steam
# coming out of the numerous holes in the pipes.
An incorrect observation by members of the Polish underground,
who were spying on the camp from a distance. When the doors
of the gas chambers were opened, a cloud of the engine’s
exhaust came out. This was probably mistaken for steam.
# However, as American engineer Friedrich Berg has established,
# this story is improbable for technical reasons. (note 23) In
# of the obnoxious odor of diesel exhaust, diesel engines produce
# much smaller quantities of toxic carbon monoxide than ordinary
# gasoline motors.
As noted here numerous times, a long series of experiments, conducted
in Britain in 1957, proved that the exhaust of a tiny (6 BHP)
diesel engine kills animals which are locked in a closed chamber.
Surely, the exhaust of a 500 BHP engine (of a tank) would also
BTW, Friedrich Berg appeared on this newsgroup about 2 years
ago. Whenever someone refuted his claims, Berg began calling
him “creature”, “Jewish trash”, etc. A true “revisionist
# For example, it turned out that none of the witnesses in the
# 1951 West German Treblinka court case ever actually saw anyone
# being gassed.
This is typical “revisionist” insanity. These people – both
survivors and Germans who ran the camp – testified that the
victims were herded into the chambers, the engine turned on,
and the victims later taken out, dead. The witnesses were not
inside the chambers, and they didn’t have closed circuit TV to
watch what was happening inside them. A peephole was installed
in some chambers but, as Prof. Pfannenstiel testified, it
was quickly covered with steam.
# Polish farmers worked the fields that directly adjoined the
And one can look in the movie “Shoa” and see what they said
took place in Treblinka… but don’t expect a “revisionist”
to mention this, of course. That’s the good old “lying by
# In the area where the gas chambers were supposed to have been
# located, the commission’s team of 30 excavation workers
# found human remains, partially in the process of decay, and an
# unspecified amount of ash. Untouched sandy soil was reached at
# 7.5 meters, at which point the digging was halted.
Again, note the depth of the graves. The claims about the size
of the burial area being too small to hold hundreds-of-thousands
of corpses are false. A simple calculation will prove this. Let’s
see our “revisionist scholars” here at work…
Lies written in ink can never disguise facts written in blood.
From: [email protected] (Miloslav Bilik)
Subject: Re: TREBLINKA
Date: Wed, 01 May 1996 22:33:24 GMT
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
References: <[email protected]>
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.0.82
Jean-Francois Beaulieu wrote:
>Aerial reconnaissance photographs taken in 1944 of the Treblinka death
>camp site — and forgotten for almost 45 years in the National Archives
>in Washington, DC — cast serious doubts on the widely accepted story that
>it was a mass extermination center.
Treblinka was erected in late May- earlier June 42; first “transport”
on July 23; and dismantled at the end of November 43. A former
Ukrainian guard named Strebel with his family became a farmer on this
area, planted pine woods, saw lupin,.. So in 44, a photograph would
hardly show anything.
>Discovered in 1989, and published here for the first time in the United
>States, these German reconnaissance photos corroborate other evidence indicating
>that Treblinka was actually a transit camp. (note 4)
>These photographs indicate that the remarkably small camp was not isolated,
>or even particularly well guarded. (They clearly show that fields where
>Polish farmers planted and cultivated crops were directly adjacent to the
It sounds strange to set a “transit” camp as small, on a blind
railroad way. But it is true that the Polish peasants cultivated
fields close to the camp; it was strongly forbidden to come closer or
to look inside, but there was a trade with ukranians guards who bought
food with money extorted to the “gold Jews”.
True also that it was quickly no secret about what happened into the
camp. But some deported in the close labor camps were sending mails,
and for a few months it confused the Jews from Warsaw.
Stangl said to Sereny: “Nobody knew nothing, nothing clear, guessed
nothing. But hundreds of soldiers and civilian came to the entry of
the camp; along the barriers, trying to buy things because they knew
the existence of all this business. During a time, we even saw planes
flying low to see what happened [..]. We shot and they stopped. But we
were never able to stop the others. They saw corpses of Jews on the
terrain or carried out of the station. They photographed them. The
whole place stank miles away. Two weeks after a “visit”, many people
told they could no longer eat. But no, they knew nothing clear,
nothing. Of course..”
>Moreover, the camp’s burial area quite obviously appears too small to contain
>the hundreds of thousands of bodies supposedly buried there. (Casting doubt
>on the widely accepted story of hundreds of thousands of Treblinka victims,
>these photos suggest instead that only those deportees who died during the
>sometimes protracted rail journey to the camp were buried there.)
Photographs of 1944 are of no interest. But you should think about the
volume of 900000 victims’ ashes. There were six roasters in the worse
time. The ashes were buried beside, mixed to earth and dust, and later
placed in the former burying pits.
>According to an eyewitness account received in November 1942
>in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organization, Jews were exterminated
>in death rooms at Treblinka with steam coming out of the
>numerous holes in the pipes. (note 5) In August 1943, the New York
The underground newspaper of the Bund, On Guard, September 20, 1942:
“The women and children from the arriving transport were divided into
groups of 200 each and were taken to the “baths”, which was located
closest to the digging machine. From the bath nobody returned, and
news groups were entering there constantly. That bath was actually a
house of murder. The floor in this barrack opened up and the people
fell into a machine. According to the opinion of some of thouse who
escaped, the people in the barrack were gassed. According to another
opinion they were killed by electrical current. From the small tower
over the bath, there were constant shots. [..]. The bath absorbs 200
people every fifteen minutes, so in twenty-four hours the capacity is
20000 people. That was the explanation for the incessant arrival of
people in the camp, from where there was no return, except a few
hundred who succeeded in escaping during the whole time..”
So, in September 42, indications are precise, quoting even the
Lazarett, and the uncertainty concerns the exact mode of execution.
That’s logical since there is no escape once in the highest part of
the camp, and very few contacts between the two parts. It is the best
testimony possible at this time. A lot believed that the noise of
Diesel was coming from the digger.
>American prosecutors at the main Nuremberg trial supported the steam story.
>As proof, a Polish government report dated December 5, 1945, was submitted
>as prosecution exhibit USA-293. It charged that Jews were killed at the
>camp by suffocating them in steam-filled chambers. This report,
>which says nothing about poison gas killings, was published in the official
>Nuremberg trial record as document PS-3311. (note 12) An American prosecutor
>quoted from this report during his address to the Tribunal on December 14,
>1945. (note 13)
Less than 70 escaped prisoners of Treblinka were still alive at the
end of the war. Far mostly of the lower part. In the main Nuremberg
trial (see some exchanges between Jackson and the French prosecutor
btw) they didn’t explore the differences between the different camps.
The mass murder was admitted as a general policy, it was sufficient
for **this** trial.
>One of the strangest Treblinka extermination stories, which appeared in
>September 1942 in a Polish underground periodical, claimed that Jews were
>killed there with a delayed action gas.
See above. Polish also imagined that poison could be mixed with the
engine’s exhaust (they noticed a few weeks later that an engine was
connected to the gassroom). That’s the best that you can guess from
100 or 200m away.
>In recent years, the most widely-circulated story has been that Jews were
>gassed at Treblinka with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of a diesel engine.
>However, as American engineer Friedrich Berg has established, this story
>is improbable for technical reasons. (note 23) In spite of the obnoxious
You missed the recent, complete and detailed post of Ken MacVay on the
analysis of Berg. He stated, with the same sources than Berg, that the
rate of O2 could be below 6% (lethal by itself, and, supererogatorly,
the high toxicity of CO is strongly related to the low rate of O2),
without considering the rate of NOx, and other irritants equally
mortal alone at their rates in the smokes of a diesel engine like the
>At least some former Treblinka prisoners testified in postwar West German
>trials that they not only never saw a gas chamber, but did not even hear
>about gassings from others. (note 27)
Astonishing. That’s why they uprised and escaped at the risk of their
life? A trial: where, when, who said he didn’t even hear about
gassings? In Treblinka, they uprised because they were all in concern;
in Birkenau, it wasn’t the case and everyone knew the gassings.
>Holocaust historians today are not able to agree about the number of homicidal
>gas chambers at Treblinka. Raul Hilberg maintains that there
>were three at first, but because they were allegedly not adequate for the
>job, more were built later on. There were eventually six or perhaps ten
>chambers, he reports.
Well, six, some witnesses telling ten. The SS had few interest to show
a good memory, they said if they could that they worked only in the
lowest part, and the direct witnesses still alive were rare in
Dusseldorf in 64-65.
>Bomba’s moving testimony, which conservative writer George Will called the
>most stunning in this shattering film, is simply not credible.
Since you didn’t see the movie, it will be simplier if I summarize the
testimony of Bomba. Effectively he tells that he cutted hair of the
women right in the gassroom, and had to left the place when the
following women were incoming (therefore without cutting hair of one
hundred women). He doesn’t explain that later the barbers were at the
entry of the “tube” and were no longer in the gassroom. He can’t speak
during a long space of time. The movie is focusing on his feelings,
and he’s still all upset after these 30 years. Bomba repeats he can’t
speak, and please to stop the record.
>Treblinka Labor Camp
>penal labor prisoners being taken by train to and from the publicly known
>T-I camp passed directly by the supposedly top secret T-II extermination
If not killed in T2, that means that there were a million of prisoners
in Treblinka I?
>Documents found after the war confirm that large numbers of Jews were deported
>to Treblinka in 1942 and 1943. German railway records report the transfer
>of trainloads of settlers (Umsiedler) and workers
>to Treblinka from various places in Poland and from other countries. (note
>Interestingly, it was not until September 1, 1942, that the Treblinka train
>station was closed to passenger rail travel by the general public (to
>permit a smooth handling of the special resettlement trains), which
>suggests that German officials were not particularly concerned with keeping
>the deportations or the station secret. (note 37)
You therefore noticed that enormously Jews were deported by this path?
The main railroad is Malkinia-Siedlice. Treblinka is a cul-de-sac.
>If Treblinka was not an extermination center, what was it? As already mentioned,
>the balance of evidence indicates that Treblinka II — along with Belzec
>and Sobibor — was a transit camp, where Jewish deportees were stripped
>of their property and valuables before being transferred eastwards into
>German-occupied Soviet territories. (note 43)
Stripped, indeed. See the album of Kurt Franz.. Nobody saw them coming
back, excepted for a very few number.
>other camps. (note 45) Several thousand Jews (at least) were transferred
>by German authorities from Treblinka to other camps, a postwar German court
>determined. (note 46)
Several thousands, it’s very impressive.
>There is no documentary or physical evidence for any of these figures, which
>are simply conjectural estimates.
The testimony of Zabecki, perhaps, at the station, who daily added,
from the first day to the last, the numbers marked with a chalk on
each car? He found 1,200,000.
>Although enormous amounts of fuel would have been needed to cremate the
>hundreds of thousands of alleged corpses, there is no documentary record
>or witness recollection of the great quantities of firewood that would have
For the wood, the existence of the “Waldkommando” is well known.
Forests were near the camp. For the “huge amount” of wood, you can
read everywhere that the unburied bodies burned nearly without fuel,
and that it’s when the common pits were emptied that fuel was needed.
>Jewish historian Rachel Auerbach, a member of an official Polish commission
>that inspected the camp site in November 1945 — that is, a few months after
>the end of the war — reported finding large human bones, rotted masses
>of corpses, pieces of half-rotted corpses, and fully
>dressed corpses, at the Treblinka camp site. (note 62)
>In the area where the gas chambers were supposed to have been located, the
>commission’s team of 30 excavation workers reportedly found human
>remains, partially in the process of decay, and an unspecified amount
>of ash. Untouched sandy soil was reached at 7.5 meters, at which point the
>digging was halted. An accompanying photograph of an excavated pit reveals
>some large bones. (note 63)
>The presence of uncremated human remains is not consistent with the often-repeated
>allegation that all such remains were thoroughly destroyed. Significantly,
>none of the Polish reports specifies the quantity of human remains, the
>numbers of corpses, or the amount of ash found at the camp site, which suggests
>that evidence of hundreds of thousands of victims was not found. (note 65)
Nobody told that **all** the bodies were thoroughly incinerated. On
the contrary, when they emptied the common pits, they put into the
ashes with partly burnt bone, what added to remaining half-decomposed
bodies not pulled of. The remaining corpses couldn’t be pulled of the
graves. Wirth **beated** the SS to do it with the inmates, since
several inmates choose the death instead of pulling the bodies of.
That explains why one found humain rests, in the same place where all
witnesses told that there was.
The local peasants were so adviced that corpses were in these places,
that before the arrival of the commission they returned the ground of
all the zone (as for Belsen or Sobibor), hoping to find some gold or
>All the same, there is no hard or compelling evidence that Treblinka was
>a mass extermination center where hundreds of thousands of Jews were systematically
>put to death. To the contrary, credible reports of transfers of Jews from
>Treblinka eastwards to the occupied Soviet territories, the relative lack
>of secrecy and security in the camp, and the small size of the area where
>the bodies were supposedly buried, all suggest instead that this was a transit
There is **no** plausible clue that a significant number of deported
followed the reverse way. But, there are full railway statements in
the direct way, and the extermination was so well known in the whole
region that the inhabitants showed (while laughing) to the occupants
of convoys that their throat will soon be cutted of; and that they
returned the surface of the camp when the Germen were gone, searching
gold, jewels or other currencies (having selled during a full year to
the ukranians guard, supplies at the price of gold).
From: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Date: 28 Apr 1996 17:20:06 GMT
Organization: Communications Vir, Internet Access Montreal.
Message-ID: <[email protected]>