The receiving camp (see Figure 7.1) consisted of a rectangular area of approximately 300 by 750 feet covering a little more than 8 acres. In the figure, the annotations are keyed as follows:
|1 - The ramp and rail siding|
|2 - Sorting and storage barracks|
|3 - The sorting yard and Lazarette|
|4 - The undressing barracks|
The Ramp and the Rail Siding
The Sorting Barracks and the Sorting plaza
”.........known as the “Pferdestall or ‘stable’. This was actually a pair of abutting huts without a dividing wall, and it served as a giant storeroom. The stalls of the former stable were still in place, as were a few of the posts to which the beasts had been tied.” (Reference 22, p82)
The way Willenberg drew these buildings exactly resembles the barracks at Auschwitz, which were prefabricated. and installed there after the invasion of the Soviet Union. (www.remember.org/then-and-now/tn02.html) . It appears that these same structures were imported into Auschwitz after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The appearance of the stables can be seen in the background of Figure 7.7 - a famous picture taken as a part of the so called Auschwitz .Album (see http://www.yadvashem.org). The buildings at Auschwitz were scaled from Aerial photography and were found to be about 54 by 15 meters. These dimensions are in accord with Willemberg‘s drawing, and when plotted and positioned on the aerial photo (Figure 7.1), fit well just behind the large sorting barracks.
In the center of the receiving complex, just to the east of the sorting and storage buildings, was a large open area, called the Sortierungsplatz, or sorting yard. Clothing and other articles taken from each convoy’s victims was piled here and the sorting process begun by teams of Jewish prisoners.
Figure 7.8 presents an aerial photograph annotated with the traces of the grounds used for sorting. This interpretation of the photography was based in part on Willemberg’s graphic depictions. The fence line seen running diagonally just to the east of the three storage buildings was the result of the discovery on the aerial images of its faint races. It is shown in Figure 7.9. According to Willemberg, this fence was heavily camouflaged with cut pine branches. The Belzec study showed that this practice often left clear signs when viewed from the air, probably due to the shedding of needles and branches during its lifetime or after the razing of the camps (see Figure 7.10). The discovery of the interior fencing clarified the significance of the light toned, trapezoidal area just to the east of the large storage and sorting barracks: It was the sorting yard. This light area is connected to the middle of the northern large storage building by a pathway over which the Jewish prisoners carried clothing and other items.
In the south east corner of the receiving camp, just south of the sorting yard there was a site, called the Lazarette (see earlier Figure 7.1). This was where dead arrivals or individuals too debilitated to walk through the tube were taken to be shot and their bodies burned. It also served as the place of execution for the worker Jews who had become sick or were had violated some SS stricture. A camouflaged board fence surrounded a pit in which a fire burned. A red cross indicating some sort of field hospital disguised the nature of this place from persons removed from a convoy (to the Jews in the work force, the nature of the Lazarette was only too well known).The primary concern of the SS and their Ukrainian underlings was to process each convoy as quickly as possible. During the peak period of the Treblinka murder cycle, several convoys a day arrived. No delays or backups in the flood of humanity could be brooked. The weak and dead were removed from the rail cars and taken to the Lazarette by members of the resident Jewish workforce. There, the living were killed by the SS and their Ukrainian underlings and all the bodies dumped into a pit which burned constantly.
The Undressing Barracks
In the ariving convoys, those capable of being ambulatory were directed or driven to the undressing barracks where they were required to remove their clothing. The women hair was cut off and then they were forced into the tube leading to the gas chambers with their children. The men followed. The garments the victims had just worn, or carried in their luggage went to the sorting square and to the sorting barracks to be processed for shipment back to Germany.The so called men’s and women’s undressing barracks were two large buildings In the north end of the receiving camp. The woman’s barracks was the north-most one and its rear opened to the tube leading to the gas chambers. Children accompanied their mothers and their hair was shorn here before they were killed.
Last modified: November, 2004
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