Saturday, February 11, 2012




Irmfried Eberl, the 31-year-old physician who had previously been director of the extermination department of the institution at Bernberg belonged to the staff of the "Action T4", which was ordered to the "Eastern Front", as the murder of patients in the German Reich in 1941 on Hitler's orders was slowed down. Eberls task was to build a station near Minsk, the Treblinka camp. He was pleased as he wrote in a letter to his wife, about  the new task. It was busy and it is fun. And Eberl wrote with zeal on the matter. "I've got the time and nerves of steel. My nerves can not fail. It is not an option. Much less, that I may break down physically. I make full use of my person and succeeded in recent days with only half the staff to cope with my task. However, I have used  my people with determination wherever it was needed and my people have pulled through bravely in this performance, and I am happy and proud". He refused to make ​​clear which method he employed. ("The task  put to me, is completely accomplished and that's the main thing"), but hinted at, in so dark and stilted phrases that he needs understanding, he wanted his wife as his dearest friend but not "to pollute her with dirt and filth". For since you represent the good side in my life, you shall know nothing of it at all".
Eberl was from the Vorarlberg (Austria), he had studied in Innsbruck, had joined the NSDAP in 1931 and in 1936 moved to Germany. After working in the health service in Dessau and Berlin, he was one of the first physicians who entered the service of the organization T4, the camouflaged headquarters for the murder of sickness and disability patients at the Tiergarten Strasse 4, Berlin. Under the pseudo-legitimacy of the "Chancellery of the Führer," healing and nursing homes were turned into Jew killing facilities. Eberl worked since 1 February 1940 in Brandenburg, and gained experience with Giftgas (Poison Gas). The zeal of Dr. Eberl, he was the only doctor at the head of a Nazi extermination camp, which was as big as the chaos that he in his short tenure (beginning July to late August 1942 created). During the criminal process, at the Court of Düsseldorf in 1965 found, that Eberl was not equal to his task, so that "indescribable conditions prevailed in his camp because he always had Jews killed before the bodies of those dead victims from previous action were not removed or buried, the disembarking Jews from the transports were thus right after leaving the wagons faced with mountains of innumerable, already largely and partly in decay of previous corpses and therefore at once in the know about their imminent fate, so that only under the greatest difficulties the procedural  process of settlement could be done."

Driven by fanaticism, but apparently incapable of organizing the murder operation, he was re-assigned for duty again to the euthanasia center Bernberg. In the short time that he had been at Treblinka he was responsible for the murder of 280 000 people. In just six weeks this death toll, measured in a time frame that he was at Treblinka, and compare this also in relation to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where within half a year, the Death Machinery ran at its peak  (May to October 1944) of extermination,and 500,000 people were murdered, taken Eberls activity in one dimension, that is by far a singular highest figure in the entire Holocaust (Völkermord) history. At the end of January 1944, Eberl was drafted into the Wehrmacht, came in April 1945 into American captivity and was released in July 1945. He lived in Blaubeuren, married a second time, trying to get authorization to practice medicine again and to erase the traces of his activity in the Nazi era. During interviews in the wake of the Nuremberg doctors trial, he denied his membership in the "Action T4", denied his role in Bernberg, pretended to be ignorant and was stood up in January 1948, when a nurse identified her former boss. On 16 February 1948, he was found dead in his prison cell. He had hanged himself.

 [Eberl was dismissed from Treblinka on August 26, 1942, for incompetence in disposing of the bodies of the thousands of people who had been killed, and was replaced by Franz Stangl, who was previously the commandant of Sobibor extermination camp. Eberl was also relieved of his duty because he was not killing people in an efficient and timely enough manner, and also because he was not properly concealing the mass murder from locals. For instance, the stench from decomposition of unburied bodies was such that it could be smelled 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the camp, such as at the nearby village of Treblinka, Masovian and Voivodeship, which in turn would make it self-evident that unnatural amounts of deaths were happening nearby, causing concern among locals. The Nazi leadership wished to avoid any inconveniences to their operations that would result from local outcries. Eberl was apparently also part of a ring at the camp that was stealing the possessions from the people whom they had murdered and sending them back to cohorts at Hitler's Chancellery in Berlin. This last activity had been expressly forbidden by Himmler, as he wanted this property to be contributed to the German war effort.In 1944 he joined the Wehrmacht for the duration of the war. After the war, Eberl found himself a widower following his second wife's death, and continued to practice medicine in Blaubeuren until he was arrested in January 1948, and hanged himself to avoid a trial after a month in jail.sic]

The longest serving commandant of Treblinka for the period from August 1942 to August 1943, was Franz Stangl. He came from the Austrian police and joined the NSDAP in May 1931(which was illegal at that time in Austria. sic) and since 1940 as a supervisory officer in the euthanasia Institution Hartheim.(He had difficulties with his Gestapo boss in Linz and purposely solicited for this job.sic) Since October 1941 at Bernburg in the service of "T4". Transferred to Lublin in March 1942, he was participating in the construction of the extermination camp Sobibor, and appointed its first commander. The appearance of Stangl, as a person who was promoted in February 1943 to Captain (Hauptsturmführer) was not militaristic, rather of a quiet nature. He laid emphasis on distance and style. Richard Glazar described him as a commander after a lord of the manor: "He had no heavy Whip like all other SS men, but only a light riding crop and always bright buckskin gloves, on his head a small cap, a few of his fingers of his right hand stuck on the chest in the narrow tailored green uniform jacket, as he solely and simply looked down from the Wall, he keeps his distance from everyone and had a view from the top down on everything. From the bottom of the commander's hut he would look around, he is rarely seen in the operation of the camp, avoids all contact with the working Jews as well as the Ukrainian guards. If he sometimes comes to the roll calls, then he takes only a look from the side of the barracks corner, using the riding crop and lightly tapping his boot, he goes away without saying a word before the end of the roll call.With a slightly hooked nose and protruding chin, caused by loose posture and movements that pertain only to higher ranks, he looks like a lord of the castle, who distributes the power among the other gentlemen."
 [The question is, was he immune to the suffering that was going on within his camp, looking at his background as a youngster, his relationship with his natural father who was a night-watchman, was emotionally distressing. He was deeply frightened of him, Stangl claimed that his father died of malnutrition in 1916 and to support his family he earned money giving zither lessons, yet in his post as commandant, Stangl accepted and grew accustomed to the killings, perceiving prisoners not as humans but merely as "cargo" that must be destroyed. Stangl accepted the extermination of Jews as a fact, he is quoted as saying:"To tell the truth, one did become used to it...they were cargo. I think it started the day I first saw the Totenlager [extermination area] in Treblinka. I remember Wirth standing there, next to the pits full of black-blue corpses. It had nothing to do with humanity — it could not have. It was a mass — a mass of rotting flesh. Wirth said 'What shall we do with this garbage?' I think unconsciously that started me thinking of them as cargo....I rarely saw them as individuals. It was always a huge mass. I sometimes stood on the wall and saw them in the "tube" — they were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips."
About this time, Stangl began drinking heavily.sic]

Stangl was transferred to Italy in August 1943 to fight the partisans. His deputy Kurt Franz succeeded him as commander during the last phase (August to October 1943), when the camp was to be dissolved and its traces obliterated. Franz, born 1914, was a butcher's assistant and chef, before he entered the SS in 1937 and initially was doing guard duty in the concentration camp Buchenwald and Pirna-Sonnenstein. He came over from Belzec in August or September 1942 to Treblinka. The prisoners gave this cunning sadist, a big wig  who laid importance on his appearance, they nicknamed him in (Yiddish) "Lalka" (the doll). He was, as Richard Glazar characterizes him and the hierarchy of Treblinka, "in this operation something like the junior manager, they may have appointed him to replace Stangl, but against Franz himself again they put someone more experienced like Sergeant Küttner in charge. Lalka was representing the extraordinary and major incidents there. Küttner-Kiewe took care of the everyday operation of routine matters. His eyes peering into every corner, he rushes past the shops, beats someone bloody, because he is too slow for him, and then he rushes between the people up silently into the "A" Barrack with his whip[....] as if a ghost appears. Unterscharführer August Willi Miete,  was every where, when someone could no longer go on, he had his victim marked, who would simulate strength to be economically still useful, he had him "stamped", and would soon join the march through to tube:His nose and his face is a little bent to one side. The long legs and the short torso on him so that he moved in a rocking motion. [....] A nickname is not enough for him. This murderous pussy-footer and careful "Cleaner" of waste at Treblinka has several of them: in Czech, "the pious shooter," in Yiddish, "the crooked Cop," and in a major Biblical language, "Malchamowes- the angel of death", for his is the domain of the Lazaret - Empire. "

Kurt Franz was 28 years old when he came in the summer of 1942 to Treblinka. He was previously in Belzec, Kammandeur of the Ukrainian guards, rose to deputy and then to camp commander and was promoted at the behest of Himmler on June 21, 1943 to SS lieutenant. After the dissolution of the camp he was, like most officers, transferred to Trieste.  He was able to escape from an American POW Camp. He worked as a construction worker, then as a cook, and lived unknown in the Bundesrepublik. In December 1965 he was arrested and in 1965 appeared in a court at Düsseldorf. The judgment states of him: "A big part of the rivers of blood and tears that have flowed in Treblinka is, only on your account". To witness statements Franz responded with great excitement. He had never killed a man, or even beaten any one. Hitting, he corrected himself, perhaps, yes may be once. Basically, I've never done a man any wrong or wanted to do wrong. I deny emphatically that I allegedly assaulted prisoners. I maintain that the whole procedure is a "Make-Up ". I think I am here to finish me off for the simple reason, I was an SS man, I wore the uniform of an SS officer and this is the sole reason and the the focus of the survivors who appear as witnesses.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1993 for health reasons. Kurt Franz died in Wuppertal in 1998.

Literally at the last moment on the ramp or on the way to the gas chambers, the SS selected when needed the most vigorous young men from the newcomers. They were given a reprieve, for theirs would be the necessary services required to make the mass murder of the victims to run as smoothly as possible: they had the new arrivals driven to be undressed,  to sort through their belongings, clean trains, search the corpses of the murdered for hidden valuables, they had to break out the gold teeth of the corpses, drag the dead into the mass grave or onto the cremation grates. After some time the working Jews were killed off, as it was the intention,  that no witnesses should survive the crimes that had been committed.
The retention of Jewish slave labor was prolonged, and over time more and more, because the SS realized that the efficiency of the machinery of extermination was best assured when an experienced and skilled work force could be used, instead of new ones that had to be constantly instructed in learning the necessary skills. The survival also depended on how many Transports arrived. The closer the frequency of the deportation trains, the more indispensable were the working  Jews. The SS and their Ukrainian helpers, the Trawnikis, limited themselves to commanding, driving, screaming, punishing, physical labor they avoided as (Herrenmenschentum) a master race.[Although I have translated the German text "Herrenmenschentum" as "master race", which is not quite appropriate, the meaning should imply more to a people in general that are able to "RULE" over those that are weak or inferior and has nothing to do with "RACE" but there is no other word in the English language I could find.sic] Video Concentration and Extermination Camps

From the beginning, many Jewish workers were indispensable than others: artisans such as tailors, saddlers, shoemakers, barbers, blacksmiths, carpenters, locksmiths, who worked in the camp workshops, whose skills were needed as well as the musicians who could not be easily replaced. They called this group "court Jews" (Hofjuden), the members of these teams were marked with a yellow armband, which had initially even the word "court Jew" written on them. About 80 men formed the group of these people.
The yellow armband was also worn by the Jews working in the sorting commando of the A-hut, where the better clothes were separated and processed.The Sorting and re-arranging started in advance at the sorting site in the detention center, where signs were nailed onto stakes with the categories of material to be put into regulatory functions: cotton-silk-wool-rags. At the other end of the sorting site things were piled up that had been left at the unloading Ramp: suitcases, bags, purses, bags of all types and everything coming from the disrobing place (Entkleidungsplatz): bundled shoes, lingerie, dresses, suits, jackets and coats.
           Unloading: A rare photo of Jews being taken off the trains. There was only a one per cent chance that any vistor to the camp would still be alive after three hours
  Unloading: A rare photo of Jews being taken off the trains. There was only a one per cent chance that any visitor to the camp would still be alive after three hours

On the arrival at the ramp, the imaginary train station,  prisoners with blue armbands was stationed there as a working commando. The "Blues" were obliged to assist the new arrivals with  their luggage and  as soon as possible to get them to the undressing place or the sorting site. At the undressing center (Entkleideplatz) a prisoners working detail was set up with red armbands to help them to undress, while to hurry them on and those women who refused, they would simply tear the clothes off them.
The" Gold Jews" were busy with the collecting, registering, assortments and the packing of gold, funds, jewels, foreign currency, jewelry etc. Their work station was called " Large Kassa"(Große Kassa) . At most on the average there were altogether 1000 working Jews that belonged to the sorting commandos. They carried red armbands and had the task to collect all property of the ones that were murdered to make arrangements from the arrival place, from the undressing place to the sorting place and into the sorting barracks to pack and stack every thing for shipment back to the Reich.Other working details were used to build roads, in agriculture, repair and maintain buildings, were used during camouflage, and 25 men formed the "twigs brigade" that tore or removed in the vicinity of the camp branches from the trees, and mended fences to prevent any type of visibility between sections within the camp.
In the death camp section(Totenlager) operated the "corpse commando" with the highest number of Jewish workers, several hundred in fact were used there. They had to get the bodies from the gas chambers, and initially put them into mass graves, subsequently took them to the cremation ground. Other commandos in Camp II cleaned the gas chambers and burned the victims, had to exhume bodies from mass graves, sieve the ashes, and crushed the  bones. The commando of the "dentists" had to remove not only the victims' gold teeth with pliers, they had also examine the orifices of the dead bodies, whether there were any valuables hidden. The gold teeth had to be cleaned and delivered to a collection point. Since the upper camp was hermetically sealed, there were also craftsmen in the death camp (Totenlager)  (such as the "court Jews" in the detention center) for maintenance and the like. The working Jews (Arbeitsjuden) had their own accommodation barracks there, which was surrounded by a barbed wire fence.

Excavator at old Gas Chamber, Treblinka:

As in other concentration camps there existed a prisoner hierarchy,  placed at first at the head was a native of Warsaw an engineer Marceli (Alfred) Galewski, he was replaced by a Jew named Rakowski from Czestochowa (Tschenstochau), who was shot in May 1943. (23) and again was followed by Galewski. The work details (Arbeitskommandos) were led by Jewish Kapos, they were assisted and represented by "deputies". For each of the two camps a Kapo was in charge. The Prison Functionaries of the concentration camp as far as the SS was concerned for the smooth operation of all camp functions and performance of all orders was their (i.e.Funcftionaries) responsibility alone. The camp life of the Jewish labor was regulated as in other concentration camps during assembly and punishments announced. During selection processes those who were repeatedly unable to work it was then determined to have them killed.[There is an old German saying:"Wer nicht arbeiten kann, soll auch nicht essen!"sic.] In residential and detention centers such as the death camp,(Totenlager) there were female prisoners, in the lower one about 20 to 30, in the upper approximately 15, which were mainly used in each laundry.
Reference(23)Richard Glazar erwähnt als Kapo und Lagerältesten den Namen Rakowski. Rückel, NS-Vernichtungslager, Seite 212, bezeichnete den Lagerältesten mit dem Buchstaben "R",nennt aber den Herkunftsort Tschenstochau. Glazar nennt außerdem einen Häftling namens Singer, der aus Österreich stammte, er soll Lagerältester im Lager II gewesen sein. Die Schreibweise der Namen von Häftlingen ist uneinheitlich, was durch Nationalität und Nachkriegsschicksal zu erklären ist.
Reference(23)Richard Glazar mentioned as a capo, and Elder bearing the name Rakowski. Rückel, in NS Vernichtungslager, page 212,  mentions the camp elder by the letter "R", but called the place of origin Czestochowa (Tschentochau). Glazar also called an inmate named Singer, a native of Austria, he is said to have been senior camp inmate in the camp II. The spelling of the names of detainees is not uniform, which can be explained by nationality and post-war fate.

                                                     continued under Part 4

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