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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/yvs16.11

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Yad Vashem Studies XVI:  Operation Reinhard (11/11)
Summary: The Liquidation of the Camps
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project -
Keywords: Yad Vashem,treblinka,sobibor,belzec

Archive/File: orgs/israeli/yad-vashem/yvs16.11
Last-modified: 1993/03/29

                       YAD VASHEM STUDIES
                     Edited by Aharon Weiss

                          YAD VASHEM
                        JERUSALEM 1984

                    "Operation Reinhard": 
       Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka

                         Yitzhak Arad 
                The Liquidation of the Camps

   Himmler's order of July 19, 1942, stipulated that the deportations
   from the General Government were to be concluded by December 31,
   1942.  A limited number of Jews were to be kept back for work in the
   assembly camps (Sammellager).  On November 10, 1942, Kruger, the
   Supreme SS- and Police Chief of the General Government, decreed the
   places where the employed Jews and their families were to remain in
   the ghettoes and camps.  By the end of 1942, the overwhelming
   majority of the Jewish population in the General Government had been
   annihilated.  The continued operation of the three special
   extermination camps was therefore no longer required.  At the time
   Auschwitz-Birkenau increased its extermination capacity, taking in
   Jewish transports from the various countries of occupied Europe.

   Belzec was the first camp where the exterminations were stopped -- at
   the beginning of December 1942.  The camp continued to operate till
   March 1943, and in this final phase the mass graves were opened and
   the corpses incinerated.  During this period the gas chambers and
   other buildings were destroyed.  The Jewish prisoners were taken from
   Belzec to Sobibor where they were killed.

   The dismantlement of Treblinka began after Himmler's visit to the
   headquarters of Operation Reinhard and to the death camps at the end
   of February--beginning of March 1943.  Prior to that 800,000 victims
   still had to be exhumed and incinerated and also other work still
   needed to be done in order to obliterate all traces.  In March and
   April 1943 several transports continued to arrive from the destroyed
   Warsaw ghetto, from Yugoslavia and from Greece, but this hardly
   delayed the razing of the camp.  

   The revolt of the Jewish prisoners in Treblinka on August 2, 1943,
   occurred in the final phase of the camp's existence and speeded up
   its liquidation.  On August 18 and 19 the last two transports from
   the ghetto of Bialystok, with 8,000 victims, arrived in Treblinka.

   On July 5, 1943, shortly before the dispatch of the last transports
   of Dutch Jews, Himmler decreed that the Sobibor extermination camp
   was to be converted into a concentration camp where captured arms
   were to be stored and processed.  While the exterminations continued
   there on a smaller scale, and in September 1943 transports still
   arrived from the East, a start was made on the construction of
   munitions' camps.  However, even before the conversion from
   extermination to concentration camp was completed, the revolt of the
   Jewish prisoners on October 14, 1943, put an end to the Sobibor camp.

   At the end of August 1943, Globocnik was appointed Supreme SS- and
   Police Chief of Istria, in the region of Trieste.  Wirth, Stangl, and
   the majority of the German personnel from the extermination camps
   were transferred there together with him.  With Globocnik's
   departure, Operation Reinhard came to an end, as he confirmed in a
   letter to Himrnler from Trieste dated November 4, 1943: On October
   10, 1943, I concluded Operation Reinhard which I had conducted in the
   General Goverment and have liquidated all camps.  (Nuremberg Document
   4042-PS.) A few SS-men and Ukrainians remained in the extermination
   camps.  In Treblinka even a group of Jewish prisoners was left behind
   in order to dismantle the huts, fences, and other camp installations.
   After completion of this work, on November 17, 1943, the last group
   of Jewish prisoners was shot in Treblinka.

   The terrain of the former extermination camps was ploughed up, trees
   were planted, and peaceful-looking farm steads constructed.  A number
   of Ukrainians from the camp commandos settled there.  No traces
   whatsoever were to remain which might bear witness to the atrocities
   committed in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, and to which, according
   to a conservative estimate, ca.  1,700,000 human beings had fallen
   victim.  Written records had been extensively destroyed as early as
   the end of 1943.  (See note 3.)

   Nevertheless, in the postwar interrogations initiated by the German
   Federal Republic in order to investigate and criminally prosecute
   former members of the German personnel of these extermination camps,
   all the people questioned in these proceedings, without exception,
   irrespective of whether they had at the time spent a prolonged or
   only a short period in or near one of the camps, testified to the
   existence and the operation of the gas chambers installed there for
   the purpose of killing people.  In isolated cases, those accused of
   direct involvement in the mass murders denied their participation in
   especially extreme acts.  However, they did not deny the
   extermination of Jews and Gypsies in the gas chambers.  Moreover,
   quite independently of one another, they invariably gave detailed
   descriptions of the purpose of the camps and of the murderous
   procedures which had been practiced there.

   According to Polish official publications based on the data of the
   Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland and
   the trials of Nazi war crimminals, the total number of victims killed
   in Treblinka was 850,000, (Yitzhak Arad, Treblinka, Hell and Revolt
   , Tel Aviv, 1983, pp 261-265.) in Belzec--600,000 and in
   Sobibor--250,000.  (Glowna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w
   Polsce, 'Obozy hitlerowskie na ziemlach polskich 1939-1945',
   Warszawa, 1979, p.  94 , p.  462 ) 


This completes the Operation Reinhard section of the Yad Vashem Studies
(XVI). To obtain the complete volume, contact Rubin Mass Ltd. P.O.B. 990, 
Jerusalem 91009, Israel. The 1991 price, in $US, for Yad Vashem Studies XVI,
was $20.00 - this price may no longer be accurate, so I advise you to
contact them first. (Telephone and fax numbers are listed in our file
biblio.05, which you may obtain by sending email to, and including the text GET HOLOCAUST BIBLIO.05
in your message.)

I have no connection with either Yad Vashem or with Rubin Mass Ltd., and no
financial interest in promoting the purchase of the material offered. I
simply believe it to be the best documented material relating to the
Holocaust available for the price, and recommend it highly.

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