May 10, 1964 – unveiling of the Commemoration of Treblinka I Penal Labour Camp

The monument in the clearing at the Execution Site has the form of a non-uniform wall made of red sandstone, dimensions: 12m long, 2.7m high, 1.6m wide. Its appearance refers to the wall of executions. It is made of blocks that resemble drops of blood in shape. The recurring theme is four straight, vertical lines carved in stone. They can be interpreted as prisoner striped uniforms(although in Treblinka I Penal Labour Camp prisoners did not wear striped uniforms) or bullet marks. The monument is strict, devoid of both sculptural accents and inscriptions. In front of the monument there is a 12m long and 2.25m wide slab, which is also made of red sandstone. Its shape brings to mind two tombstones whose edges are embedded in the ground. The slab carries the inscription: “In homage to the murdered”. There are also “tears” leading to the monument, that is irregular forms of red sandstone, which symbolize drops of blood or tears of suffering prisoners. The monument is integrated into the wall of the forest surrounding the clearing. The ceremonial unveiling of the commemoration took place on May 10, 1964. Its author is Franciszek Strynkiewicz – professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, who was the general designer of the entire spatial and architectural foundation at the Treblinka Memorial Site. At the alley behind the monument, there is a mound topped with a cross, which was erected by school children in September 1947. It hides the bones of victims that were collected at the post-camp area. This is the first commemoration of Treblinka I Penal Labour Camp. Collective graves located in the forest surrounding the clearing with the main monument were marked with concrete crosses 1 m high. Other graves were also marked with single crosses in the depths of the forest. Symbolic plates with the names of the victims were placed on most crosses. On July 30, 2014, there was a ceremonial unveiling and consecration of the monument commemorating Roma and Sinti murdered in Treblinka. The shape, as well as the red sandstone used to create it, refer to the monument already existing in this place. The monument has a board with an inscription in Polish, Romani and English, engraved with a poem by Teresa Mirga: “I have been around the world, traveled briefly, was called, for another visit” and the inscription: “In memory of Roma and Sinti murdered by the German occupiers in the forced-labour camp and in the extermination camp during the second world war. Pain and suffering of the victims took the land which hides the ashes of thousands of innocent people. We bend our heads over your martyr’s death. Polish Roma Union Based in Szczecinek, Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites, 2014”. The monument’s design was made after consultation with the president of the Union of Polish Roma with headquarters in Szczecinek – Mr. Roman Chojnacki. The monument and the inscription were prepared and made, after its approval by the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom and the Conservator of Monuments, by Mr. Sławomir Jackowski from the Stone Company from Kiełczew.

Translation: B.K.

10 May 2021