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February 20, 2016

Treblinka as it looked in 1998 when I first saw it

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 12:46 pm
The entrance into Treblinka in 1998

The entrance into Treblinka camp in 1998

When I went to see what was left of the former Treblinka extermination camp in October 1998, the entrance road into the camp looked like an old logging road. When my tour guide and I finally arrived at the site of the Treblinka extermination camp, it looked as if we were on another old logging road, which went  through another dense forest. If someone had wandered into this area by mistake, that person might have thought that he had just entered a campground in a national forest.

Everything at the site of the former Treblinka camp was very quiet and serene with only the sound of a few birds.

The photo below shows the Bistro, which was not open when I was there in 1998.

Bistro inside the Treblinka camp

Bistro inside the Treblinka camp

Just beyond the Bistro, shown in the photo above, is a narrow parking lot and a small building where you can buy postcards or a three-page pamphlet printed in several languages. The car that is shown in the photo was the car that was driven by my tour guide.  We were the only visitors there.

Tourist center at Treblinka in 1998

Tourist center at Treblinka in 1998

The photo above shows a small building where tourists can buy postcards or a three-page pamphlet printed in several languages.

There is a covered arcade area open to the elements in front of the building, where huge blowups of several famous Holocaust photographs are hung, along with a poster with some information about Janusz Korczak, a Jewish director of an orphanage, who accompanied a group of orphans to the Treblinka camp, and died along with them.

Entrance into the Treblinka camp as it looked in 1998

Entrance into the Treblinka camp as it looked in 1998

The small pamphlet, which I purchased from the Visitor’s Center at Treblinka in 1998, says that “After the riot the camp was being slowly liquidated and in November of 1943 it was not existing already.”

By this time, the Germans were losing the war on the Eastern front and were in retreat. The Treblinka camp was completely dismantled and all the buildings were destroyed when it was liquidated, according to the Soviet Union whose soldiers discovered the site of the abandoned camp in 1944.

Among the few survivors of the camp were those who had escaped during the uprising and had joined the partisans hiding in the forests.

The photo below shows the forest, looking toward the east, on the left side of the cobblestone path as you enter. The line of stone markers delineate the original northern border of the camp. The area to the right of the stones is the former location of the barracks for the Treblinka SS staff members and the Ukrainian guards.

A line of stones marks the boundary of the former Treblinka camp

A line of stones marks the boundary of the former Treblinka camp which was in a forest

It was so quiet at the former Treblinka camp that the only sound that I could hear was my own footsteps on the cobblestone path. The peaceful setting, shown in the photos above, is near the site of the ashes of 870,000 Jews who were allegedly murdered here.

The map of the Treblinka camp has been turned so that the top of the map is East

The map of the Treblinka camp has been turned so that the top of the map is East

The map, that is shown above, shows the layout of the Treblinka camp as it is seen by visitors today who enter the area of the former camp along the route of the train tracks, shown at the bottom of the map.

Shown in gray on the left side near the bottom of the map is where the SS staff members and the Ukrainian guards lived. Around 1,000 Jewish workers lived in the barracks that are shown in black.

The fake train station where the clothing was stored is shown in blue; the undressing rooms for the Jews are also shown in blue. On the right side of the map, the burial sites are shown in brown.

The gas chambers are shown in red; the large red rectangle is where 10 new gas chambers were constructed near the original gas chamber. Today, a large monument is located in the spot where the original gas chamber once stood.

The pyres where the bodies were burned are indicated by the lines just above the red rectangle that denotes the gas chamber. The area where the barracks once stood is now covered with trees; the area at the top of the map on the right is where the symbolic cemetery is now located.

 

 

 

The last survivor of Treblinka, Samuel Willenberg, dead at 93

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:47 am
Samuel Willenberg

Samuel Willenberg, the last survivor of Treblinka camp

Symbolic cemetery at Treblinka

Symbolic cemetery at Treblinka

There are no graves for the Jews who were allegedly killed at Treblinka, but there is a symbolic cemetery that has been built over the ground where the bodies were allegedly buried.  No digging is allowed, so the bodies have never been found.

I blogged about Samuel Willenberg in this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/samuel-willenberg-91-the-last-living-survivor-of-the-treblinka-extermination-camp/

I also blogged about his daughter who has designed an Education Center for tourists at the Treblinka Memorial Site on the grounds of the former Treblinka death camp. https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/90-year-old-survivor-of-treblinka-death-camp-unveils-foundation-stone-for-future-treblinka-education-center-designed-by-his-daughter/

The original sign at the Treblinka camp

The original sign at the Treblinka camp

The following quote is from a news article about Willenberg’s death:

Begin quote:
Samuel Willenberg, the last surviving prisoner of Treblinka — who managed to escape the Nazi death camp in 1943 — has died at the age of 93.

In 1941, Willenberg’s two sisters were arrested in Czestochowa, while his parents used false documents to escape the Nazi purge. At the age of 19, he was rounded up with the Jews during the liquidation of the ghetto in Opatow in southern Poland, and sent to Treblinka.

Acting on the advice of another Jewish prisoner, Willenberg posed as a bricklayer upon his arrival at the extermination camp. He was the only person from his transport not to perish in the gas chambers.

Willenberg took part in the 1943 revolt at Treblinka, becoming one of the few hundred who managed to escape the camp.

[…]

His daughter, Orit Willenberg-Giladi, was in 2013 named as the architect to design a Holocaust education center on the site of the Nazi death camp.

End quote

Huge monument at Treblinka in honor of the Jews who died there

Huge monument at Treblinka in honor of the Jews who died there

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