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Treblinka extermination camp.

07-02-2019

Treblinka was an extermination camp built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War Ii It was located in a forest north-east of  Warsw 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the Treblinka train station  in what is now the Masovian Voivodeshin, the administrative region of the Kingdom of Poland, and of the Polish–Lithuanian ….

The camp operated between 23 July 1942 and 19 October 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the deadliest phase of the Final Solution. During this time, it is estimated that between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were killed in its gas chambers, along with 2,000 Romani people . More Jews were killed at Treblinka than at any other Nazi extermination camp apart from Auschwitz.  

Managed by the German SS and Trawnikis (also known as Hiwi guards  – the auxiliary police enlisted from Soviet POW camps to assist the Germans), the camp consisted of two separate units. One was the famous Ivan Demjanjuk    Demjanjuk lived in the United States with his wife Vera; first extradited to Israel in 1986 and found guilty. After a series of appeals from 1990 onward, in May 2009 Demjanjuk was deported again from the US to Germany this time. He was convicted of being a guard at Sobibor and sentenced in May 2011. Demjanjuk was released pending an appeal. He died in March 2012 before his appeal could be heard.

Treblinka I was a forced-labour camp (Arbeitslager whose prisoners worked in the gravel pit or irrigation area and in the forest, where they cut wood to fuel the crematoria. Between 1941 and 1944, more than half of its 20,000 inmates died from summary executions, hunger, disease and mistreatment.

The second camp, Treblinka II, was an extermination camp, or the Vernichtungslager in German, referred to euphemistically as the SS-Sonderkommando Treblinka by the Nazis.  A small number of Jewish men who were not killed immediately upon arrival became its Jewish slave-labour -units called Sonderkommandos forced to bury the victims’ bodies in mass graves . These bodies were exhumed in 1943 and cremated on large open-air pyres along with the bodies of new victims. Gassing operations at Treblinka II ended in October 1943 following a revolt by the Sonderkommandos  in early August. Several SS Hiwi guards were killed and 200 prisoners escaped from the camp; almost a hundred survived the subsequent chase. The camp was dismantled ahead of the Soviet advance. A farmhouse for a watchman was built on the site and the ground ploughed over in an attempt to hide the evidence of genocide.

SS-Obersturmführer Irmfried Eberl    was appointed the camp’s first commandant on 11 July 1942. He was a psychiatrist from Bernburg Euthanasia Centre and the only physician-in-chief to command an extermination camp during World War II. After the war ended, Eberl continued to practise medicine in Blaubeuren.  He found himself a widower following his second wife’s death. Irmfried Eberl, age 37, was arrested in January 1948, and hanged himself the following month to avoid trial.

When SS Obergruppenführer Odilo Globocnik made a surprise visit to Treblinka on 26 August 1942 with SS Sturmbannführer Christian Wirth and Wirth’s adjutant from Bełżec, SS Obersturmführer Josef Oberhauser , Eberl was dismissed on the spot. Among the reasons for dismissal were: incompetently disposing of the tens of thousands of dead bodies, using inefficient methods of killing, and not properly concealing the mass killing. Eberl was transferred to Berlin, closer to operational headquarters in Hitler’s Chancellery where the main architect of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler, had just stepped up the pace of the programme. Globocnik assigned Wirth to remain in Treblinka temporarily to help clean up the camp. On 28 August 1942, Globocnik suspended deportations. He chose Franz Stangl, who had previously been the commandant of the Sobibór extermination camp, to assume command of the camp as Eberl’s successor. Stangl had a reputation as a competent administrator with a good understanding of the project’s objectives, and Globocnik trusted that he would be capable of resuming control. Josef Oberhauser, age 64, died on 20 November 1979 in Munich. Josef Oberhauser, age 64, died on 20 November 1979 in Munich.

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