Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: Electronic Edition, by Browning, Christopher R.

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Approximately 30 Germans were stationed at each of the camps and held the key supervisory positions. More numerous were the guards, about 120 per camp, who were for the most part Ukrainians recruited out of the POW camps for captured Soviet soldiers and sent to a special SS training facility at Trawniki southeast of Lublin. Some of these men, having returned to the Soviet Union, gave testimony to German judicial investigators who were collecting evidence for the trial of Karl Streibel, the commandant of Trawniki. Others emigrated abroad, including to the U.S., where some of them faced judicial investigation by the Office of Special Investigations in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Aleksandr Illarionwitsch Semigodow testified that he was captured at the outbreak of war in June 1941 and volunteered to   serve with the Germans to escape a very probable death by starvation in the POW camp at Cholm. He was sent to Trawniki in March 1942, and then served at Belzec from August 1942 to March 1943. At first trains arrived daily, and in some cases even twice daily, and then the number of incoming transports gradually diminished. The Jews were killed in the six gas chambers, and the bodies were buried. Then in late fall, the graves were opened, and the burning of the corpses began. This was not finished until March 1943.142
Captured in August 1941, Peter Petrowitsch Browzew was taken to Trawniki at the end of 1941 and assigned to Belzec in June 1942. About his experiences in Belzec, he gave the following testimony about procedures after the first small wooden building with three gas chambers had been replaced with a larger cement structure with six chambers:
Upon the arrival of a train, several train cars at a time were uncoupled and brought into the death camp. In the camp the train car doors were opened, and the Jews were told that they had come to work and that now they would be taken to the bath and should hand over their valuables.
Next they were told to undress. Then the Jews were led through a gate surrounded by barbed wire into a wooden barracks, where they undressed and where their hair was cut. No difference was made between men and women. They all had to undress in one room.
Next they were led through the same gate to the gas chambers.
There were six gas chambers, three on each side of the entrance. In general the chambers were usually crammed with some 200 Jews.
The people were locked in the chambers for 10-15 minutes. Next the chambers were opened, and a Jewish work commando had to take the corpses to a grave already dug near the gas chambers on the grounds of the camp.
However, before the corpses were removed from the gas chambers, one worker from the Jewish work commando tore out the gold teeth from the dead.
The incoming transports of Jews came to an end in late 1942, and the burning of the buried corpses began. "The corpses were pulled out of the graves, they were decomposed. There were metal rails, wood, and everything was burned. 24 hours through, day and night, the corpses burned." Then on February 3, 1943, Browzew escaped from Belzec and joined a partisan band.143
Feodor Federenko gave sworn, pre-trial testimony on May 25, 1976, to American investigators in Hartford, Connecticut. He was captured by the Germans in July 1941 and eventually was sent to the large POW camp in Cholm. Here he was picked out of the camp and sent to Trawniki for training. In late August or early September 1942, he was assigned to Treblinka. He was asked: "Were you aware of the fact that thousands of Jews were being exterminated in Treblinka?" He answered, "Yes, I knew." Asked if he was assigned to the forced labor camp or the camp "where they had gas chambers," he replied: "I was where the gas chambers were."144
At his subsequent denaturalization hearing in June 1978, Fedorenko testified over three days in greater detail. He denied that he had actually entered the section of the camp where the gas chambers were located but admitted that he had once been posted on a guard tower overlooking this section of the camp. "I saw how they were loading up dead people, loading them on the stretchers. ...And they were loading them in a hole." Later in his testimony, he reconfirmed that this part of the camp "is where there was the workers that took the bodies and buried them or stacked them in the holes. This is where the gas chambers were." Concerning the unloading of Jews from the trains, he testified: "Some were picked for work and the others, they went to the gas chambers."145


142. ZStL, II 208 AR 643/71 (investigation of Karl Streibel), vol. IV, pp. 705-9 (testimony of A.I. Semigodow, May 1973).
143. ZStL, II 208 AR 643/71, vol. II, pp. 459-61, and vol. III, pp. 561-627 (testimonies of Peter Petrowitsch Browzew, August 1974 and August 1975). (Nach Ankunft eines Zuges wurden jeweilig einige Waggons abgekoppelt und in das Todeslager umgeleitet. Im Lager wurden die Waggontüren geöffnet und den Juden mitgeteilt, dass sie hier zum Arbeitseinsatz kommen und dass sie jetzt zum Baden geführt werden und ihre Wertsachen abgeben sollen.
Anschliessend wurden sie aufgefordert sich auszuziehen. Die Juden sind danach durch einen stacheldrahtumzäumten Gang in Holzbaracken geführt worden, wo sie sich auszogen und wo ihnen die Haare abgeschnitten wurden. Ein Unterschied zwischen Männern und Frauen ist nicht gemacht worden. Alle mussten sich in einem Raum ausziehen.
Anschliessend hat man sie durch den gleichen Gang in die Gaskammern geführt.
Es waren 6 Gaskammern zu je 3 Kammer auf jeder Seite des Ganges. Allgemein war es üblich die Kammern mit etwa 200 Juden vollzupropfen.
Die Menschen wurden für 10-15 Minuten in die Kammern eingesperrt. Anschliessend wurden die Kammern geöffnet und ein jüdisches Arbeitskommando musste die Leichen zu den bereits ausgehobenen Gruben--in unmittelbaren Nähe der Gaskammern--auf dem Gelände des Lagers, bringen.
Bevor aber die Leichen aus den Gaskammern fortgeschafft wurden, hat ein Arbeiter aus dem jüdischen Arbeitskommandos den Toten die Goldzähne herausgerissen.)
144. Sworn statement of Feodor Fedorenko, May 25, 1976, file nr. A7 333 486, US Department of Justice.
145. USA vs. Feodor Fedorenko, Case No. 77-2668-Civ-NRC, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, pp. 1325,, 1450, 1577 (testimony of June 12-14, 1978). One section of the Treblinka death camp contained Jewish workers who collected and sorted clothing and valuables; a second, separate area contained Jewish workers who emptied bodies from the gas chambers. In addition to the camp with gassing facilities under Stangl, there was also a separate nearby work camp in the Treblinka region.
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accessed 12 March 2013