Treblinka I - Escapes

Several barbed wire fences, guard towers with machine guns, a main guard consisting of 10 watchmen at the entrance gate, locking prisoners’ barracks at night and setting up night guards, and sending strong patrols around the camp – all this to prevent prisoners from escaping. However, they attempted to do so, although any unsuccessful escape ended in the death of the prisoner, combined with enormous cruelty to deter others. For a successful escape of one prisoner, the commandant sentenced to death 10 or more prisoners working in the same group as the fugitive. If the whereabouts of the fugitive’s family were known, the family was also punished. Despite the repressions, the escapes took place all the time. On 2 September 1943, after the guard was overpowered and his uniform was used as a disguise, a group of 13 prisoners, who collected stones in the field, managed to escape. It was mostly the Polish population who helped the Jewish prisoners who managed to escape. The escapes intensified in the summer of 1944.

Individual escapes resulted in the death of too many fellow prisoners. So they tried to organise an uprising and a collective escape in case the camp was liquidated. Perhaps there was a connection with the conspirators in the extermination camp, because in their plans they counted on prisoners returning from the railway station in Małkinia. The attempts to organise resistance encountered difficulties, because some prisoners staying in the camp with their families did not want to expose themselves and their loved ones to obvious death after these experiences. The prisoners with fixed term sentences also did not want to take action that could have failed.