Treblinka II

Treblinka II - Extermination Camp

The Treblinka extermination camp (centre) was built by the Germans in mid-1942 next to a nearby penal labour camp. It was established as a part of Operation Reinhard, the goal of which was to eliminate the Jewish population. It covered an area of 17 hectares and was surrounded by a high barbed wire fence. The camp was operated by a command staff of 30-40 Germans and Austrians who were assisted by around 100-120 guards, mainly Ukrainians. Doctor of medicine Irmfried Eberl became the first commandant of the camp, later followed by Franz Stangl. Kurt Franz was the deputy commandant.

The first transport of prisoners arrived on 23 July 1942, bringing Jews from the Warsaw ghetto. From that day on, Jews were brought here mainly from the occupied Poland, but also Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, the USSR, as well as Germany and Austria. Romani and Sinti people from Poland and Germany were also brought here.

The prisoners were gassed with exhaust fumes in gas chambers built specifically for that purpose. Around 800,000 people are estimated to have died here. To cover up these war crimes, the bodies were cremated on specially constructed grates.

On 2 August 1943, an armed uprising organised by prisoners broke out in the camp. Out of 840 people, only about 200 managed to escape, Not more than 100 survived the war. After the uprising, the camp was being slowly shut down. In November 1943, the camp’s structures were dismantled. A farmhouse was built for a Ukrainian family; the ground was ploughed and planted with lupine. The buildings were burned down before the approach of the eastern front.