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the hel of treblinka;Early (1944) Report on Treblinka. Inadvertently reveals the Present-Day Politicization of the Holocaust

jan peczkis|Friday, May 4, 2018

Author Vasily Grossman was a Soviet Jew, and this book is one of the first, if not the first, account of Treblinka. His refreshingly-candid treatment provides a lasting testimony not only to the horrors of Treblinka, but perhaps—even more so—a diagnosis on how Holocaust memory had since been manipulated.

Author Grossman stresses that Jews were not the only victims of Treblinka. So were Poles and Gypsies. (p. 15).


Nowadays, there is customary de-Germanization of the Nazis and the attempt to shift the blame onto the Poles through such frequently-repeated media constructs such as the “Polish complicity in the Holocaust” and “Polish death camps” canards. Failing that, we instead here vague insinuations about the Germans seeking the approval of the Poles for the German siting of the death camps.

The very notion that the German Master Race would seek the permission, or consent, from the conquered and despised Polish UNTERMENSCHEN (subhumans) is absurd to the point of the macabre. As if this common-sense fact was not enough, Grossman makes it clear that Treblinka was a top-secret facility, unknown to ANYBODY who lacked an absolute need of awareness of it. Grossman writes, “And not a single person—not even a field marshal—was allowed near it. Anyone who happened to come within a kilometer of the camp was shot without warning. German planes were forbidden to fly over the area. The victims brought by train along the spur from Treblinka village did not know what lay in wait for them until the very last moment. The guards who had accompanied the prisoners during the journey were not allowed into the camp; they were not allowed even to cross its outer perimeter. When the trains arrived, SS men took over from the previous guards. The trains, which were usually made up of sixty freight wagons, were divided into three sections while they were still in the forest, and the locomotive would push twenty wagons at a time up to the camp platform. The locomotive always pushed from behind and stopped by the perimeter fence, and so neither the driver nor the fireman ever crossed the camp boundary.” (pp. 11-12).

Nor does Grossman even try to blame the Holocaust on centuries of antecedent anti-Semitism. Instead, he puts the blame for the Holocaust squarely where it belongs—on the Germans and the Germans alone. That is, the German qualities of thrift, precision, calculation, and pedantic cleanliness were harnessed by Hitler to deadly effect at places such as Treblinka. (p. 7). Grossman also mentions the “traditional German chauvinism” as floridly exhibited at Treblinka (p. 10), and the overall German sense of superiority over other peoples (notably—but by no means only—over the Jews, Poles, and Russians).(p. 62).


The first part of this book describes what had been learned about the modus operandi of the Treblinka death camp soon after the Red Army had driven the Germans out of eastern Poland. Details are given about the transports, the deceptions, the "showers" (gas chambers), mass burials, and then the cremations. The latter took place in open pits, 250-300 m. long, 20-25 m. wide, and 6 m. deep. Each such pit contained a stack of several thousand corpses per session. At night, the flaming pyres could be seen up to 40 km (25 miles) away (p. 47). Polish peasants, toiling from spring 1943 to summer 1944, were forced to scatter the cremains over a 3 km road. Twenty carts, each carrying 100-125 kg of ashes and charred bone fragments, made 6-8 trips per day. (p. 53)

Jewish author Grossman states the now-realized 3-4-fold inflated Treblinka death toll of 3 million. (p. 39). (So much for the myth that the once-believed inflated figures, for death-camp victims, had been some kind of postwar Polish invention designed to hide the Jewishness of most of the deaths.)
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