Concentration camp Treblinka


Initially, organized resistance in Treblinka did not exist. There were however some individual acts of resistance and attempts at escape.

The first known action was the murder of SS man Max Biala. He was stabbed to death on September 11, 1942 by Meir Berliner, one of the Arbeitsjuden who had arrived from Warsaw a few days earlier. The other guards immediately opened fire, killing Berliner and 10 other prisoners. When the situation was back under control another roll call was held. 10 prisoners were taken out of the mass at random and executed. The day after, during morning roll call, 150 prisoners were taken to the Lazarett and executed. That way, the guards wanted to imbue so much fear, the others would not emulate Berlinerís example.

After this occurrence, the guards found it wiser to keep the Arbeitsjuden "in service" longer and not kill them after a few days which was the usual procedure up to then. In doing so, they hoped such individual desperate attempts would not be made again.

People did try to escape from Treblinka though, in particular during the first months. Some succeeded, others were caught. Exact figures as to how many did escape do not exist. In any case, a few have played an important role after their escape. David Nowodworski, Avraham (Jacob) Krzepicki and Lazar Szerszein managed to reach Warsaw after their escape where they, as members of the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish armed organization) took part in the uprising of the Warsaw ghetto. In December 1942, two members of the Bahnhofkommando attempted to escape. They were caught however and shot by Kurt Franz himself. At a special roll call, Franz announced he would from then on execute 10 others for each attempt at escape. Yet, Jews still tried to escape. It became increasingly more difficult though as security measures were tightened steadily.


Part of a town separated from the outside world to segregate Jewish population. The establishment of ghettos was intended to exclude the Jews from daily life and from the rest of the people. From these ghettos it was also easier to deport the Jews to the concentration and extermination camps. Also known as ďJudenviertelĒ or Jewish quarter.
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.
Resistance against the enemy. Often also with armed resources.

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Max Biala
(Source: Holocaust Research Project)


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