Treblinka II – Establishment of the camp
- The conference in Wannsee near Berlin, which took place on 20 January 1942, dealt with the practical implementation of the “final solution of the Jewish question”. The extermination camps in Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka were set up in the General Government to carry out this task.
The concept of the camps and the method of killing were developed by people directly connected with the killing action of the mentally ill in the Reich, which was carried out in the years 1939-1941.
- On 17 April 1942, during his visit to Warsaw, Himmler probably ordered the beginning of preparations for the murder of the Jews living there. As a result, in May Globocnik came to an agreement with the Führer’s Office on the construction of the Treblinka extermination camp.
In the spring of 1942, SS-Hauptsturmbannführer Herman Höfle sent a team of former participants in T4 action to find a suitable place to build extermination camps. All three: Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka were located along the Bug River, in forest complexes on the eastern border of the General Government. Such a location made it possible to mask the crime committed, and the people brought here had the impression that they had indeed found themselves in a transit camp and, after disinfection, they would go further east – to work. The grounds where the extermination camps were established were sparsely populated and located relatively close to Lublin, where the headquarters of Operation Reinhard was located.
- Treblinka was situated at the junction of the districts of Warsaw, Lublin and the Białystok District, with good railway connections with Warsaw, Białystok and Radom district. There was already a railway siding leading to the gravel pit, and the whole area was patrolled by groups of guards from the penal labour camp, located only 2 km from the newly-built one.
- Since 1941, there was a Penal Labour Camp in Treblinka, officially established by the German authorities. Such a situation was conducive to dulling the vigilance of the people deported here, all the more so as the first commandant of the death camp, Irmfried Eberl, described his camp as a labour camp (Arbeitslager Treblinka) in his letters to the Jewish Council in Warsaw.