‘Pink Triangle – NEVER FORGET!’
(27 Jul 2021)
Always remember the people who endured the Shoah Holocaust – those who lived through it, those who perished.
As The Allies came upon Hitler’s death camps during the conclusion of World War II, they cleared the prisoners of each of these death camps. The Allies liberation of the inmates of Hitler’s death camps included: Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma, Communists, Socialists, Unionists, Disabled, Twins, Mentally ill. They were all set free to return home, difficult as that would be during post-WW2 Europe.
But Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Marshall, and the entire Allied Command ordered that all Homosexual and Trans prisoners remain held captive inside each of these NAZI death camps – to remain imprisoned for rest of their lives. Homosexual and Trans prisoners continued to perish at Eisenhower’s orders, same as they did under Hitler’s orders.
These were Hitler’s Three Stages to Genocide for his Final Solution:
– You have no Rights
– You have no Rights to live amongst us
– You have no Rights to live.
Eisenhower and his Allied Command were as complicit in Hitler’s Final Solution and Genocide as Hitler and every NAZI.
Wearing either that Black or that Pink Triangle was the most fatal and deadly of all the emblems that Hitler assigned to the targets of his Final Solution.
The German LGBT Community were Hitler’s first and easiest targets by 1932 because they were German society’s easiest target. Not even Hitler’s Gay generals of his inner circle were immune from assassination.
So it is today. Crooked Drumpf ideologues throughout the nation continue to target Our Trans Community because we are the easiest targets of their Amerika.
The Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center
July 26, 2021 tcSpoeo15 Srhnosorersdc ·
We must all bear witness to the Holocaust and #NeverForget
The first Nazi camp liberated by US forces was Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald. On April 4, 1945, the US 4th Armored Division and 89th Infantry Division of the Third US Army came face to face with the horrors of Nazi brutality. When American soldiers entered the camp, they discovered the decomposing remains of hundreds of murdered prisoners, some covered with lime and others partially incinerated. They also encountered the camp’s surviving prisoners, beaten, starving, emaciated, and in dire need of medical attention. The horrific nature of their discovery led General Dwight D. Eisenhower to visit the camp on April 12, along with Generals George S. Patton and Omar Bradley. After his visit, Eisenhower cabled General George C. Marshall describing his trip to Ohrdruf:
“The things I saw beggar description….The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.”
Eisenhower wanted the world to know about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. A few days later he again cabled Marshall with a request to bring members of Congress and journalists to the newly liberated camps so that they could convey the horrible truth about Nazi atrocities to the American public. Within days, congressmen and journalists began arriving to bear witness to Nazi crimes in the camps.
Hitler’s death camps were cleared of the prisoners – Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma, Communists, Socialists, Unionists, Disabled were all set free.
But Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Marshall, and the entire Allied Command ordered that all Homosexual and Trans prisoners remain held captive inside each of these death camps. Homosexual and Trans prisoners continued to perish at Eisenhower’s orders.
· Reply · 11m · Edited
Craig R. Weiner
In reading the Newsweek article, it serves to emphasize the lack of education on this horrific history that we have in our country compared to the schools in Europe which emphasize Holocaust education. It is precisely this type of education that teaches us and our students the dangers of hate and prejudice. For those who question the number of Jews that were murdered during the Holocaust, they can simply visit the Book of Names at the Auschwitz museum in Poland and hand count the over 4.2 million names of victims names that are already listed …one name at a time.
We must remember that the Holocaust is the most heavily documented genocide in human history.
In fact, in reading about the growth of hate groups, I again blame inadequate education about the importance of standing up against ALL forms of hate. This subject needs to be taught more broadly and more proactively in our schools, as well as at home. We must teach our young people how dangerous hate can be. Just ask ourselves these questions : “What good can come from hate ? Is there anything that can be productive in a civilized society that stems from hate ?” Obviously we all know the answers. Whether it was Afro Germans that were sterilized or castrated by the Nazis, or the Gypsies or Jehovah Witnesses that were murdered, or the handicapped and less fortunate that were put to death, or the millions of Jews that were murdered in gas chambers, by bullets or through starvation…….It ALL comes from hate and if we are not careful as a society to be more proactive in teaching our future generations about these dangers associated with hate, our children and grandchildren will be in real danger of history repeating itself. Let’s leave our grandchildren a more peaceful world, a world where respect, understanding, empathy and compassion are dominant rather than “judgment”. If we can do this together, be sure that your grandchildren will be forever grateful and will live happy and fulfilling lives which they will in turn pass on to your great grandchildren.
· Reply · 13h · Edited
Mara Lerner Robbins
1/3 of Americans do not believe 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. We must educate our children so that this mass genocide is never forgotten and never happens again. https://www.newsweek.com/one-third-americans-dont-believe…
One-third of Americans don’t believe 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust
One-third of Americans don’t believe 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust
· Reply · 15h · Edited
The Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center
July 12, 2021 ·
At the tail end of WW2…
The Holocaust in Hungary was the final act of mass murder of a Jewish community by Nazi Germany during the 1941-45 genocide of the European Jews. Until the spring of 1944, Hungary was home to the only major Jewish community still largely intact in Central Europe. In May 1944, the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz began. In only eight weeks, some 440,000 Jews were deported on 145 trains, most of them to Auschwitz, where around 80 percent were gassed upon arrival. By the end of the Holocaust, some 565,000 Hungarian Jews had been murdered. At the height of deportations, 4 trains carrying 3,000 people each left every single day. Deportations were halted in July.
Pictured below (1) a transport of Hungarian Jews line up on the ramp for selection at Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in German-occupied Poland, May 1944; (2) Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, Jews waiting in a grove near gas chamber #4 prior to their murder, May 1944 . ~ Yad Vashem photo archives
The NAZI book-burnings were of the books from Dr. Hirschfeld’s library of Transgender research and of his patients because they were books of ‘other immoral influences’, as Hitler decreed by fiat.
The Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center
May 10, 2021 ·
On May 10, 1933, university students across Germany burned over 25,000 “un-German” books in Berlin’s Opera Square. Students threw books stolen from public and university libraries onto bonfires, and celebrated with elaborate ceremonies, parades, music, speeches and “fire oaths,”. The students sought to purify German culture and literature of “foreign,” especially Jewish, and other immoral influences.
Mara Lerner Robbins
The censorship is truly terrifying.
· Reply · 11w
The Craig and Barbara Wein
The Pink Triangle
1933 – 1945
Gays in the Holocaust
Before the Nazi era, Berlin had been home to a vibrant gay and lesbian culture. At the conclusion of World War II, the Allies came upon Nazi concentration camps and other sites of atrocity to find thousands upon thousands of people – suffering terribly, emaciated, near death – whom the SS had incarcerated because they were Jewish, Roma or Sinti, dissenting Lutheran and Catholic Clergy, mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, political dissidents … the list of groups which offended Adolf Hitler was a long one. While great effort was made to repatriate most victims of Nazi brutality, the homosexual survivors were not “liberated.” At the recommendation of British and American lawyers, the men who had been arrested under Germany’s anti-homosexual ‘Paragraph 175’ statute – identified by the pink triangles many were forced to wear – were to be re-imprisoned. The enforcement of anti-homosexuality laws across the U.S. and Europe, meant that many gay survivors of Nazism faced continued persecution, arrest, and detention long after Hitler was defeated. For decades, most of these men were unable to relate the saga of their torture at the hands of the Nazis for fear of outing themselves to a hostile society. No celebrations. No tearful reunions. No commiseration with friends. No community of survivors with which to share their stories. The German government did not recognize or grant reparations to gay survivors of Nazism until 2002, by which time almost all had died. The Pink Triangle was adopted by the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement in the 1970s and became emblematic of life and death during the 1980s and 90s when the male homosexual population once again faced mass death – this time by AIDS and the judgmental indifference that condemned them to a “deserved” fate. Once a hallmark of Hitler’s cruelty and madness, the Pink Triangle is now both a universal symbol of LGBTQ Pride and an international declaration of “NEVER AGAIN!”
Pink Triangle/Gays-in-the-Holocaust Memorial
Paul Highfield, Ronald Puskarits, Edward Seslowsky, Paul DeSousa, Patrick F. Torres, Myron Mix, Bill Wade, Laura Angelucci and Jennifer Baker, Daniel K. West, Barb Silnes and Tina Chabak
Cold War (1945-1991)
Great Depression (1929-1939)
Information Age (1970-present)
World War II (1939-1945)
Commemorations & Honors
AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) Logo Created With Inverted Pink Triangle and Slogan “SILENCE = DEATH” by 6 Gay Activists in New York City (1987)
Pink Triangle Plaque Installed at the Dachau Memorial Museum Commemorating the Suffering of Gay Inmates (1995)
Pink Triangle Basis of Design for Homomonument in Amsterdam, the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial in Sydney, the Pink Triangle Park in the Castro Neighborhood of San Francisco and the Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks Displayed Every Year During San Francisco
Pink Triangle Memorial Erected in Tel Aviv Israel
Monument Honoring Gay People Killed by the Nazi’s Erected in Berlin Germany
The Pink Triangle Bronze Casting Source Image
The Pink Triangle- Gays in the Holocaust
Pink Triangle Affixed to Gay Men’s Clothes in a Nazi Concentration Camp
Nazi Concentration Camp Triangle Classification Flyer
1980’s “Silence = Death” AIDS Protest Pin from Gran Fury/Act-UP
Gay Men Awaiting Nazi Judgment
Gay Man with the Pink Triangle
The Pink Triangle Explained
Euronews Report on the Last Gay Holocaust Survivor and Itinerary of a Pink Triangle
AFP News Report on the Pink Triangle Monument Erected in 2014 in Tel Aviv Israel
USC Shoah Foundation Interview With Gay Holocaust Survivor Stefan Kosinski
AP Report on the Berlin Germany Monument Honoring Gay People Killed by the NAZIs
US Holocaust Memorial Museum Documenting Nazi Persecution of Gays: Josef Kohout…
Grau, Gunter. Hidden Holocaust? Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany 1933-45. London: Cassel, 1995.
Heger, Heinz. Men with the Pink Triangle: The True, Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. David Fernbach, trans. Boston: Alyson Press, 1980.
Jensen, Erik N. “The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi Persecution.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 11 (January/April 2002): 319-49.
Kogon, Eugen. The Theory and Practice of Hell. Heinz Norden, trans. New York: Berkley Books, 1998.
Plant, Richard. The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals. New York: Henry Holt, 1986.
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Dr. Danny M. Cohen Ph.D. | Northwestern University
The Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission
The Legacy Project
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The Pink Triangle, San Francisco Pride Official Event
The Pink Triangle | history | symbol
German concentration camp prisoner markings
The pink triangle was used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame homosexuals. This symbol, which was used to label and shame, has been embraced by the gay community as a symbol of pride.
However, in the 1930s & 1940s there was nothing celebratory about the pink triangle. Gays were forced to wear the pink triangle on their breast pockets in the concentration camps to identify them as homosexual to set them apart from other prisoners.
Triangles of various colors were used to identify each category of “undesirable”: yellow for Jews, brown of Gypsies, red for political prisoners, green for criminals, black for anti-socials, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses, blue for immigrants, and pink for homosexuals.
The pink triangles were slightly larger than the other colored triangles so that guards could identify them from a distance. It is said that those who wore the pink triangles were singled out by the guards to receive the harshest treatment, and when the guards were finished with them, some of the other inmates would harm them as well.
At the end of the war, when the concentration camps were finally liberated, virtually all of the prisoners were released except those who wore the pink triangle. Many of those with a pink triangle on their pocket were put back in prison and their nightmare continued.
One of the groups that was targeted for extermination by the Nazis continues to be under attack to this day, not just verbally but physically, all over the world: homosexuals. The fact that gays were put in German concentration camps is not known by many. The stories of the survivors reveal an unimaginable cruelty and suffering. It is the same kind of senseless, irrational hatred that still haunts Gays, Jews, Blacks, and other minorities today.
The Taliban in Afghanistan required non-Muslims to wear identifying badges on their clothing, just as the Nazis required their “undesirables” to wear identifying logos so long ago. History repeats itself.
The list of systematic, deliberate and well-orchestrated exterminations is a long one. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 – 1918 in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and the Sudan, and numerous other genocidal campaigns are testament of the world’s complacency.
It seems the lessons of the Holocaust and the Pink Triangle have been lost on many. Because “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” we continue to display the Pink Triangle atop Twin Peaks. It is important to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust victims and to remind everyone of the consequences of unchecked hatred.
The Pink Triangle display is also intended as an instrument to initiate discourse about hate crimes. We want to help prevent others from experiencing the results of hatred that Matthew Shepard, Allen Schindler, Brandon Teena, and countless others have been subjected to. If we can help prevent additional crimes like those committed against them, we will have been successful in our attempt to inform the public.
Home of the Pink Triangle
Why is the Pink Triangle installed each year?
Countries where homosexuality is illegal
History: the symbol
History: the commemoration
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copyrighted 1995-2008 by The Friends of The Pink Triangle under the Creative Commons
Website started by Katie Hickox and David Helton; current design and implementaton by Michael ‘Mickey’ Sattler.
UPDATED:JUL 9, 2019
ORIGINAL:JUN 3, 2019
The Pink Triangle: From Nazi Label to Symbol of Gay Pride
Radu Bighian/Getty Images
Pink triangles were originally used in concentration camps to identify gay prisoners.
Before the pink triangle became a worldwide symbol of gay power and pride, it was intended as a badge of shame. In Nazi Germany, a downward-pointing pink triangle was sewn onto the shirts of gay men in concentration camps—to identify and further dehumanize them. It wasn’t until the 1970s that activists would reclaim the symbol as one of liberation.
Homosexuality was technically made illegal in Germany in 1871, but it was rarely enforced until the Nazi Party took power in 1933. As part of their mission to racially and culturally “purify” Germany, the Nazis arrested thousands of LGBT individuals, mostly gay men, whom they viewed as degenerate.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates 100,000 gay men were arrested and between 5,000 and 15,000 were placed in concentration camps. Just as Jews were forced to identify themselves with yellow stars, gay men in concentration camps had to wear a large pink triangle. (Brown triangles were used for Romani people, red for political prisoners, green for criminals, blue for immigrants, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses and black for “asocial” people, including prostitutes and lesbians.)
Homosexual prisoners at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany, wearing pink triangles on their uniforms on December 19, 1938.
At the camps, gay men were treated especially harshly, by guards and fellow prisoners alike. “There was no solidarity for the homosexual prisoners; they belonged to the lowest caste,” Pierre Seel, a gay Holocaust survivor, wrote in his memoir I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror.
An estimated 65 percent of gay men in concentration camps died between 1933 and 1945. Even after World War II, both East and West Germany upheld the country’s anti-gay law, and many gays remained incarcerated until the early 1970s. (The law was not officially repealed until 1994.)
The early 1970s was also when the gay rights movement began to emerge in Germany. In 1972, The Men with the Pink Triangle, the first autobiography of a gay concentration camp survivor, was published. The next year, post-war Germany’s first gay rights organization, Homosexuelle Aktion Westberlin (HAW), reclaimed the pink triangle as a symbol of liberation.
“At its core, the pink triangle represented a piece of our German history that still needed to be dealt with,” Peter Hedenström, one of HAW’s founding members said in 2014.
Memorial plaques for homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Wehrmacht deserters are placed where once stood one of the demolished barracks in Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany.
Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Getty Images
Afterwards, it began cropping up in other LGBT circles around the world. In 1986, six New York City activists created a poster with the words SILENCE = DEATH and a bright pink upward-facing triangle, meant to call attention to the AIDs crisis that was decimating populations of gay men across the country. The poster was soon adopted by the organization ACT UP and became a lasting symbol of the AIDS advocacy movement.
The triangle continues to figure prominently in imaging for various LGBT organizations and events. Since the 1990s, signs bearing a pink triangle enclosed in a green circle have been used as a symbol identifying “safe spaces” for queer people. There are pink triangle memorials in San Francisco and Sydney, which honor LGBT victims of the Holocaust. In 2018, for Pride Month, Nike released a collection of shoes featuring pink triangles.
Although the pink triangle has been reclaimed as an empowering symbol, it is ultimately a reminder to never forget the past—and to recognize the persecution LGBT people still face around the world.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
July 23, 2018 ·
Today in 1942, the Nazi regime began gassing operations at the Treblinka killing center. Treblinka was part of a network of killing centers built to murder millions of Jews in German-occupied Poland.
The killing process at Treblinka was a cruel exercise in deception. Upon arrival, prisoners were told they had entered a transit camp. They had to give up their valuables, undress completely, and have their heads shaved. Then, they were forced to run down a tunnel into rooms labeled as showers. The rooms were gas chambers. Prisoners who were unable to run were brought to a sham Red Cross tent under the pretense of receiving medical care, then shot.
Between 870,000 and 925,000 Jews were killed in Treblinka from July 1942 through November 1943, when the center was dismantled. Learn more:
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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
<p>Train station near the <a href=”/narrative/3819″>Treblinka</a> killing center. This photo was found in an album belonging to camp commandant Kurt Franz. Poland, 1942-1943.</p>
To carry out the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, the SS established killing centers devoted exclusively or primarily to the destruction of human beings in gas chambers. Treblinka was among these killing centers. It was one of three killing centers linked to Operation Reinhard, the SS plan to murder almost two million Jews living in the German-administered territory of occupied Poland, called the General Government. View This Term in the Glossary
In November 1941, SS and German police authorities in the General Government View This Term in the Glossary established a forced-labor camp for Jews, known as Treblinka (later referred to as Treblinka I).
The killing center, referred to as Treblinka II, was constructed in the summer of 1942. It was the third killing center, after Belzec and Sobibor, established by Operation Reinhard authorities.
By the time the Treblinka killing center was dismantled in the fall of 1943, the camp personnel had murdered an estimated 925,000 Jews, as well as an unknown number of Poles, Roma, View This Term in the Glossary and Soviet POWs.
Treblinka became one of three killing centers created as part of Operation Reinhard (also known as Aktion Reinhard or Einsatz Reinhard). It was first established as a forced-labor camp.
In November 1941, under the auspices of the SS and Police Leader for the Warsaw District in the General Government, View This Term in the Glossary SS and police authorities established a forced-labor camp for Jews, known as Treblinka. This camp was later referred to as Treblinka I. It also served the SS and police authorities as a labor education camp for non-Jewish Poles whom the Germans perceived to have violated labor discipline. Both Polish and Jewish inmates, imprisoned in separate compounds, were deployed as forced labor. The majority of the forced laborers worked in a nearby gravel pit.
In July 1942, the authorities of Operation Reinhard completed the construction of a killing center, referred to as Treblinka II. Treblinka II was intended for the extermination of Warsaw’s Jews and located in the Warsaw District of the General Government. View This Term in the Glossary However, because it was part of Operation Reinhard, it was administered by Odilo Globocnik. Globocnik was the SS and Police Leader of the Lublin District.
When Treblinka II commenced operations, the two other Operation Reinhard killing centers, were already in operation. These killing centers were Belzec and Sobibor.
The Location and Topography of Treblinka II
This photo was found in an album belonging to camp commandant Kurt Franz. [LCID: 35274]
This photo was found in an album belonging to camp commandant Kurt Franz. Poland, 1942-1943.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Treblinka labor camp and killing center were established during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. They were located in the Warsaw District of the General Government View This Term in the Glossary (Generalgouvernement).
The labor camp was known as Treblinka I. It was constructed around a gravel pit that had been worked before the war and was located about 3.5 miles from the Treblinka village railway station. While this was a sparsely populated area, it was in close proximity to an important railway junction in a larger village called Malkinia Gorna. The Malkinia Gorna railway junction was located about mid-way on the approximately 100-mile rail line between Warsaw and Bialystok. Its location provided good rail connections between districts of the General Government View This Term in the Glossary and the cities of Warsaw, Lublin, Radom, and Bialystok.
Operation Reinhard authorities chose the site for the Treblinka killing center in this remote area. Treblinka II was opened approximately a mile south of the labor camp. It was located near the village of Wolka Okraglik along another railway line, the Malkinia-Siedlce connection. The Germans improved the rail connections between these various points by building a rail spur that led from the labor camp to the killing center and that also connected to the Malkinia station.
The site of the killing center was heavily wooded and hidden from view. It was laid out in a trapezoid covering an area of 1,312 by 1,968 feet (an area equivalent to almost 34 soccer fields). Pine branches woven into the eight-foot tall barbed-wire fence and trees planted around the perimeter served as camouflage, blocking any view into the camp from the outside. Watchtowers 26 feet high (almost 2.5 stories) were placed along the fence and at each of the four corners.
The killing center was divided into three parts: the reception area, the living area, and the killing area. The living area contained housing for German staff and the guard unit. It also contained administrative offices, a clinic, storerooms, and workshops. One section contained barracks that housed those Jewish prisoners selected from incoming transports to provide forced labor. This forced labor was intended to support the camp’s function: mass murder.
Deportations to Treblinka
Scene during the deportation of Jews from Thrace to the Treblinka killing center. [LCID: 79616]
Deportation of Jews from Thrace to Treblinka
Scene during the deportation of Jews from Thrace to the Treblinka killing center. Lom, Bulgaria, March 1943.
Central Zionist Archives
Deportations to Treblinka came mainly from the ghettos of the Warsaw and Radom districts in the General Government. View This Term in the Glossary Between late July and September 1942, the Germans deported around 265,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. Between August and November 1942, SS and police authorities deported around 346,000 Jews to Treblinka II from the Radom District. From October 1942 until February 1943, the Germans deported to the Treblinka killing center more than 110,000 Jews from the Bialystok District, a section of German-occupied Poland that was attached administratively to German East Prussia. Treblinka also received transports of at least 33,300 Jews from the Lublin District.
German SS and police authorities deported Jews to Treblinka from the Bulgarian-occupied zones in Thrace and Macedonia. They also deported some 8,000 Jews from Theresienstadt in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Other small groups of Jews of undetermined numbers were killed at Treblinka II. The Germans deported these groups from Germany, Austria, France, and Slovakia via various transit locations in the General Government. View This Term in the Glossary In addition, an undetermined number of Roma (Gypsies) and Poles were killed at Treblinka II.
Deportations to Treblinka continued until the spring of 1943. Most prominent among the deportations were the approximately 7,000 Jews transported from the Warsaw ghetto after its liquidation following the Warsaw ghetto uprising. A few isolated transports arrived after May 1943.
The Staff of Treblinka I and II
The authorities at the killing center, Treblinka II, consisted of a staff of between 25 and 35 German SS and police officials. As with the other Operation Reinhard killing centers, the majority of German camp officials belonged to the T4 (“euthanasia”) organization.
The first commandant of Treblinka II was Dr. Irmfried Eberl, a physician. Eberl had gassed patients as medical director of the Brandenburg and Bernburg “euthanasia” facilities. However, his poor management of Treblinka led to his dismissal on August 26, 1942, just six weeks after he arrived. His replacement, SS Captain Franz Stangl, was transferred from the Sobibor killing center. Stangl was a former policeman in the Criminal Police (Kripo). He had previously served as deputy office manager at the Hartheim and Bernburg “euthanasia” killing centers. On August 23, 1943, following the prisoner revolt at Treblinka, Kurt Franz succeeded Stangl as commandant. Franz was previously a cook at the Hartheim, Brandenburg, Grafeneck, and Sonnenstein “euthanasia” centers, as well as at the Belzec killing center. He remained commandant at Treblinka II until its liquidation in November 1943.
SS Captain Theodor van Eupen was the commandant of Treblinka I, the labor camp, from 1941 through 1944. Unlike Treblinka II, which was part of Operation Reinhard, the commandant of Treblinka I did not report to the Operation Reinhard and T4 authorities. Rather, Treblinka I’s commandant was subordinate to the SS and Police Leader in Warsaw. Under the leadership of German authorities stood a police auxiliary guard unit of between 90 and 150 men. All of these men were either former Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) of various nationalities or Ukrainian civilians selected or recruited for this purpose. Members of the guard unit were trained at a special facility of the SS and Police Leader in Lublin, the Trawniki training camp.
Distant view of smoke from the Treblinka killing center, set on fire by prisoners during a revolt. [LCID: 35277]
Smoke from the Treblinka killing center
Distant view of smoke from the Treblinka killing center, set on fire by prisoners during a revolt. This scene was photographed by a railway worker. Treblinka, Poland, August 2, 1943.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Incoming trains of about 50 or 60 cars bound for the killing center first stopped at the Malkinia railway station. Twenty cars at a time were detached from the train and brought into the killing center. The guards ordered the victims to disembark in the reception area, which contained the railway siding and platform. One building erected on the platform was disguised as a small railway station, complete with a wooden clock and fictive rail terminal signs and railway schedules.
German SS and police personnel announced that the deportees had arrived at a transit camp. View This Term in the Glossary Deportees were required to hand over all valuables. The reception area contained a fenced-in “deportation square” with two barracks in which deportees—with men separated from women and children—had to undress. It also contained large storerooms. This is where the possessions relinquished by victims were sorted and stored. Next, the goods were shipped to Germany via Lublin.
A camouflaged, fenced-in path led from the reception area to the gas chamber entrance, located in the killing area. This was known as the “tube” [“Schlauch”]. Victims were forced to run naked along this path to the gas chambers, deceptively labeled as showers. Once the chamber doors were sealed, a large diesel engine installed outside the building pumped in carbon monoxide exhaust. All those inside were killed.
Sonderkommando at Treblinka II
The Sonderkommando (special detachment) was a group of Jewish prisoners selected to remain alive as forced laborers. Members of this group worked in the killing area. They removed bodies from the gas chambers and initially buried them in mass graves. In October 1942, camp personnel deployed Jewish forced laborers to exhume these mass graves. The forced laborers were ordered to burn the bodies on open-air “ovens” made from rail track. This was in keeping with the efforts of the Sonderkommando 1005, tasked with excavating and destroying evidence of Nazi mass murder in the German-occupied east. German personnel and the Trawniki-trained auxiliaries periodically murdered the members of detachments of Jewish laborers and replaced them with persons from newly arriving transports.
Sonderkommando prisoners selected as forced laborers worked in the administration-reception area of the camp. They were tasked with forcing the new arrivals to detrain, disrobe, and relinquish their valuables. They were also forced to drive their fellow Jews into the “tube” which led to the gas chambers. Prisoners then sorted the victims’ possessions in preparation for transport to Germany. In addition, they cleaned out freight cars for the next deportation. Victims who were too weak or ill to reach the gas chambers on their own were told they would receive medical attention. Members of the Sonderkommando carried them to a camouflaged area, which was disguised as a small clinic using a Red Cross flag. There, SS Corporal Willi Mentz shot the victims in an open pit. Previously, Mentz had performed agricultural work at the Grafeneck and Hadamar “euthanasia” facilities.
Resistance and Revolt in Treblinka
Three participants in the Treblinka uprising who escaped and survived the war. [LCID: 66111]
Three participants in the Treblinka uprising who escaped and survived the war. Photograph taken in Warsaw, Poland, 1945.
Pictured from left to right are: Abraham Kolski, Lachman and Brenner. After participating in the Treblinka uprising, they escaped from the camp and found temporary refuge in the nearby forest. Afterwards they hid with a Christian family until liberation.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Sylvia Kramarski Kolski
View Archival DetailsJewish inmates organized a resistance group in early 1943. When camp operations neared completion, the prisoners feared they would be killed and the camp dismantled. During the late spring and summer of 1943, the resistance leaders decided to revolt. On August 2, 1943, prisoners quietly seized weapons from the camp armory. However, they were discovered before they could take over the camp. Hundreds of prisoners stormed the main gate in an attempt to escape. Many were killed by machine-gun fire. More than 300 did escape—though two-thirds of them were eventually tracked down and killed by German SS and police, as well as by military units. Surviving prisoners were forced to dismantle the camp. They were supervised by German SS and police personnel, who were acting upon orders from Odilo Globocnik. After completion of this job, the German SS and police authorities shot the prisoners.
The End of the Treblinka Camps
German officials ordered that Treblinka II be dismantled in the fall of 1943.
From late July 1942 through September 1943, the camp personnel murdered an estimated 925,000 Jews at the Treblinka killing center. They also killed an unknown number of Poles, Roma, View This Term in the Glossary and Soviet POWs. Treblinka I, the forced-labor camp, operated until late July 1944. While the killing center was in operation, some of the arriving Jews were selected and transferred to Treblinka I. Those Jews too weak to work at Treblinka I were periodically sent to Treblinka II to be killed.
During late July 1944, with Soviet troops moving into the area, camp authorities and Trawniki guards shot the 300-700 remaining Jewish prisoners. The camp was hastily dismantled and evacuated. All traces of it were destroyed. Lupine flowers were sown on the grounds, and an ethnic German farmer was installed on the property to camouflage the reality of what had occurred at this site.
Soviet Red Army View This Term in the Glossary troops overran the site of both labor camp and killing center during the last week of July 1944.
Last Edited: Mar 3, 2021
Author(s): United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Treblinka: Key Dates
Treblinka: Key Dates
Treblinka – Photographs
Treblinka – ID Card/Oral History
Jewish Uprisings in Ghettos and Camps, 1941–44
Jewish Uprisings in Ghettos and Camps, 1941–44
SERIES: KILLING CENTERS
Arad, Yitzhak. Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987).
Glazar, Richard. Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in Treblinka, trans. Roslyn Theobald (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1995).
Sereny, Gitta. Into that Darkness: An Examination of Conscience (New York: Vintage Books, 1983).
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Documenting Nazi Persecution of Gays: The Josef Kohout/Wilhelm Kroepfl Collection
Josef Kohout, more widely known as Heinz Heger, was the subject of The Men with the Pink Triangle, the first published account of a gay survivor of the Nazi camps. Dr. Klaus Müller, the Museum’s representative for Europe, shares his story.
Online Exhibition—Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals
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“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)
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