The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/belzec/oberhauser.001

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/belzec oberhauser.001
Last-Modified: 1994/07/26

SS-Untersturmfuehrer Oberhauser on the death camp at Belzec
[Quoted in 'The Good Old Days' - E. Klee, W. Dressen, V. Riess, The 
Free Press, NY, 1988., p. 228-230]
The camp of Belzec was situated north-east of the Tomaszo'w to Lemberg
[Lvov] road beyond the village of Belzec. As the camp needed a siding
for the arriving transports the camp was built about 400 meters from
Belzec station. The camp itself was divided into two sections: section
1 and section 2. The siding led directly from Belzec station into
section 2 of the camp, in which the undressing barracks as well as the
gas installations and the burial field were situated...

The gassing of Jews which took place in Belzec camp up till 1 August
1942 can be divided into two phases. During the first series of
experiments there were two to three transports consisting of four to
six freight cars each holding twenty to forty persons. On the average
150 Jews were delivered and killed per transport. At that stage the
gassings were not yet part of a systematic eradication action but were
carried out to test and study closely the camp's capacity and the
technical problems involved in carrying out a gassing...

At the beginning of May 1942 SS-Oberfuehrer Brack from the Fuehrer's
chancellery suddenly came to Lublin. With Globocnik he discussed
resuming the extermination of the Jews. Globocnik said he had too few
people to carry out this programme. Brack stated that the euthanasia
programme had stopped and that the people from T4 would from now on be
detailed to him on a regular basis so that the decisions taken at the
Wannsee conference could be implemented. As it appeared that it would
not be possible for the Einsatzgruppen to clear individual areas of
Jews and the people in the large ghettos of Warsaw and Lemberg by
shooting them, the decision had been taken to set up two further
extermination camps which would be ready by 1 August 1942, namely
Treblinka and Sobibor. The large-scale extermination programme 
[Vernichtungsaktion] was due to start on 1 August 1942.

About a week after Brack had come to Globocnik, Wirth and his staff
returned to Belzec. The second series of experiments went on until
1 August 1942. During this period a total of five to six transports
(as far as I am aware) consisting of five to seven freight cars
containing thirty to forty people came to Belzec. The Jews from two
of these transports were gassed in the small chamber, but then Wirth
had the gas huts pulled down and built a massive new building with a 
much larger capacity. It was here that the Jews from the rest of the
transport were gassed.

During the first experiments and the first set of transports in the
second series of experiments bottled gas was still used for gassing;
however, for the last transports of the second series of experiments
the Jews were killed with the exhaust gases from a tank or lorry
engine which was operated by Hackenholt.

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