The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/belzec/belzec.schluch

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The Tube (Belzec)
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Belzec

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/belzec belzec.schluch
Last-modified: 1993/03/05

"After undressing, first the men and later the women with the children were
taken through the "tube" to the gas chambers.  SS Unterscharfu"hrer Schluch

'My post in the "tube" was close to the undressing barrack.  Wirth briefed
me that while I was there I should influence the Jews to behave calmly.
After leaving the undressing barracks, I had to show the Jews the way they
were convinced that they were really going to the baths.  After the Jews
entered the gas chambers, the doors were closed by Hackenholt himself or by
the Ukrainians subordinate to him.  Then Hackenholt switched on the engine
which supplied the gas.  After five or seven minutes -- this is only an
estimate -- someone looked through the small window into the gas chamber to
verify whether all inside were dead.  Only then were the outside doors
opened and the gas chambers ventilated....After the ventilation of the gas
chambers, a Jewish working group under the command of their capos entered
and removed the bodies from the chambers.  [...]

The Jews inside the gas chambers were densely packed.  This is the reason
that the corpses were not lying on the floor but were mixed up in disorder
in all directions, some of them kneeling, according to the amount of space
they had.  The corpses were besmirched with mud and urine or with spit.  I
could see that the lips and tips of the noses were a bluish color.  Some
had their eyes closed, others' eyes rolled.  The bodies were dragged out of
the gas chambers and inspected by a dentist, who removed the finger-rings
and gold teeth....After this procedure, the corpses were thrown into a big
pit." <1>

[Regarding the disposal of bodies into the pit, Franz Stangle is quoted...]

"Wirth was not in his office, they said he was in the camp....I asked what
was the matter.  The man I was talking to said that one of the pits had
overflowed.  The had put too many corpses in it and putrefaction had
progressed too fast so that the liquid underneath had pushed the bodies on
top up and over, and the corpses had rolled down the hill.  I saw some of
them -- oh, God, it was awful...." <2>

<1> Yad Vashem Archives, TR-10/517 (The trial of Josef Oberhauser)
    Landgericht, Munchen, Band 8, p1512

<2> Gitta Serini, Into the Darkness, London, 1974, p.112.

Excerpted from....----------------------------------------------
BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard Death Camps
Indiana University Press - Yitzhak Arad, 1987. ISBN 0-253-3429-7

German court documents, provided by Danny Keren, add these comments
about the 'tube' used at the Reinhard death camps - in this case,

Following are some verbatim quotes from the German court's ruling
as to how the murders took place:

From that stage on both male and female victims received the same
treatment.  So that these people would not have the time to think or offer
resistance, they were driven through the "tube" by guards stationed there,
who struck out at them with canes, whips, rifle butts and with their fists
to hurry them along.  The victims had to run through the "tube" four and
five abreast, completely naked and with arms raised; this was the way in
which they were herded into the gas chambers.  The capacity of each gas
chamber was utilized down to the last square centimeter.  Under a rain of
constant blows and abuse so many people were sqeezed into the chamber that
no one was able to move any more.  Often, infants and young children would
simply be tossed into the rooms above the heads of the adults standing in
the chamber.  When it was no longer possible to sqeeze additional people
into the chambers, the doors were sealed and the German squad leader
ordered the Ukrainian in the engine room (he might say "Ivan, water!") to
switch on the engine, whose exhaust fumes were then conducted into the
chamber [In a different place, it is specified that engines of captured
Soviet tanks were used].  The killing process itself lasted about 30 to 40
minutes.  After that time the engine was shut and someone went to the doors
to listen for signs of life in the chambers.  If no sign of life could be
detected, the command was given to open the trap doors on the outer walls,
and the transfer of the corpses began.  On occasion some victims showed
signs of life even after the gassing had been completed.  Such people would
be shot on the platform or perhaps on the way to the ditch or the cremation
grill.  The shooting was done either by the German squad leader or by one
of the Ukrainian guards.  Others shot at the mass graves included newcomers
who could not be pushed into the already overcrowded gas chambers, but who
were too few in number to warrant the expense of a separate gassing

Passed on September 3, 1965 in the trial of Kurt Franz and nine others at
the court of Assizes in Dusseldorf (First Treblinka Trial) (AZ-LG
Dusseldorf: II 931638, p.  49 ff.), and the trial of Franz Stangl at the
court of Assizes at Dusseldorf (Second Treblinka Trial) on December 22,
1970 (pp.  111 ff.,AZ-LG Dusseldorf, XI-148/69 S.)

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