The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Operation Reinhard:

The extermination process at all three camps was similar, and reflected the reality that the camps existed for the sole purpose of exterminating the Jews of the General Government.

Transports would arrive, and those who had survived the journey were herded into a "reception area," where they were told to remove their clothing and surrender their valuables. A few, a very few, were sorted out if they claimed experience in trades needed to maintain the camp, and others survived for a time as workers in the extermination area.

After cutting the hair off the women (it was reportedly utilized to manufacture felt boots for the Wehrmacht), the prisoners were told that they would be fed and assigned to work camps, but that they had to shower first. They were then driven (with whips and clubs) through the "tubes", which were enclosed pathways which led from the reception area directly to the gas chambers, where they were murdered.

Those too weak to make the trek from the rail platform to the reception area were taken directly to the extermination camp by narrow-gauge railroad, and shot. (This proceedure varied at the three camps, but the result was always the same.)

(For a comprehensive list of documentation regarding the killing process, request INDEX REINHARD from our listserver, and request INDEX YAD_VASHEM at the same time. Although our Yad Vashem material is limited, it offers extensive commentary on both Operation Reinhard, and the prisoner revolts as well. It is based upon personal and court testimonies for the most part, and extensively documented.)

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