Concentration camp Treblinka

Extermination camp Treblinka II

Treblinka I however was only the "prologue" to Treblinka II, the actual murder factory. Extermination camp Treblinka II was established a few miles from Treblinka I. The site was not chosen at random: the area was scarcely populated and thickly wooded. Moreover, it was conveniently situated near the railway between Malkinia and Siedlce. A track was laid between Treblinka I and II as well.

The camp was constructed in connection with Aktion Reinhard, the code name for the operation intended to exterminate the approximately 2 million Jews living in the General Government in Poland. Construction of the camp started in May-June 1942 and was partially done by inmates of Treblinka I. In charge of construction was SS-HauptsturmfŁhrer Richard Thomalia, the architect of Aktion Reinhard. The camp took the form of a rectangle, measuring 400 by 600 yards, surrounded by a thick barbed wire fence. Watchtowers, 26 feet high were erected along the perimeter and on the corners. Fir branches were woven into and between the barbed wire, blocking all view on what was happening inside. Later on, a second fence was put up, consisting of barbed wire and anti-tank barriers.

During the construction of Treblinka II, the experience gained during the previous construction of the extermination camps Belzec and Camp Sobibor was put to good use. Therefore the camp of Treblinka was considered the most efficient extermination camp of Aktion Reinhard.

The camp was equal in size to the one in Sobibor and was divided into three large sections: the Wohngebiet (living area), the Auffanglager (reception camp) and the Totenlager (death camp). All these sections were separated by barbed wire. The barracks of the SS and the Ukrainian guards were in the living area. An office, a sick bay, storehouses and workshops were situated here also. There even was a small zoo. The Jewish laborers (Arbeitsjuden) who were selected to cooperate in the mass murder in the camp, were also housed here. Finally there were a few workshops and a parade ground where roll call was held twice a day. The square was also used for sporting events thought up by SS-UntersturmfŁhrer Kurt Franz, like boxing and running which inevitably ended in the death of the loser. Like in other camps, prisoners were punished and executed here.

The reception camp had the same function as the reception area in Belzec and Sobibor. The Jews arrived here, men, women and little children were separated from each other and their possessions taken away from them. The so-called hospital, the Lazarett, complete with a Red Cross flag lay in this part as well. Here the elderly and the sick were executed immediately after arrival. The Wohngebiet and the Auffanglager together made up the Unteres Lager (lower camp).

The Oberes Lager (upper camp) consisted of the Totenlager only, the part of the camp were the gas chambers and mass graves were located. Just like in Belzec and Sobibor, this part of the camp was camouflaged and from the outside it was impossible to see what was going on inside. Likewise, a narrow corridor, sometimes called the HimmelfahrtstraŖe (Ascension road) by the SS, connected the reception area to the Totenlager. At the entrance of this corridor, there was a sign with the text: "Zur Baderšume" (to the shower rooms). The first gas chambers in Treblinka were identical to the first chambers in Sobibor.


Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.
A combat vehicle with heavy armour and heavy armament driving on tracks. The tank, despite its heavy weight, is very mobile and able to move along various types of terrain. These properties, along with heavy firepower and protecting armour, give the tank a big strike power.
The track of a tank.

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Railway near the entrance of Sobibor, like Treblinka one of the Aktion Reinhard camps
(Source: Yad Vashem)

Richard Thomalla, the architect of Aktion Reinhard.

Lay out of Treblinka II, a document in evidence during the second Treblinka trial


Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Gerd Van der Auwera
Published on:
Last edit on:
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