The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka/leleko.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Treblinka Defined - Leleko Interrogation
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA

Archive/File: camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka leleko.001
Last-Modified: 1994/08/08
Source: United States Department of Justice

               From Interrogration of Defendant

February 20, 1945. I, Lieutenant EPPEL', Investigator of the Fourth
Department of the "SMERSH" Directorate of Counterintelligence of the
Second Belorussian Front interrogated as defendant -

      LELEKO, Pavel Vladimirovich, born in 1922, native of the village
      of Chaplinka, Chaplinka District, Nikolayev Region, Ukrainian,
      citizen of the USSR.

      The interrogation began at 10.10 a.m.

Question: What was the purpose of the Treblinka camp?

Answer: A camp is not a quite precise definition of what was there in
reality. This was not a camp, because not counting the servicing
crews, nobody was housed there, but it was an especially equipped
factory for the mass extermination of people.

Question: How long were you in service in the Treblinka camp?

Answer: I was in service in the Treblinka camp for one year, from
September 1942 to September 1943.

Question: What position did you hold there?

Answer: In the Treblinka camp I held the position of a guard.

Question: Where was the Treblinka camp located?

Answer: The Treblinka camp was located some 500 meters from the
Malkinia-Kosow highway, about two-three km from the Treblinka railroad
station, at the edge of a forest. To the West of the camp, some two km
away, there is the village of Kutaska.

Question: Describe the exterior appearance of the camp?

Answer: The Treblinka camp is divided into two parts: Camp no. 1, or
as the prisoners called it, the "death camp", and the worker's camp,
called Camp no. 2. The camps were situated at a distance of some 2-3
km from each other.

Question: What did the "death camp" look like?

The "death camp" was located on an area of about 7-8 hectares, which
was fenced in by two rows of barbed wire reaching 3 (three) meters in
height. Beyond the barbed wire stretched a continuous line of metallic
anti-tank obstacles enmeshed in barbed wire. The entire area of the
camp, in the shape of an irregular quadrangle, was divided into three
sections by rows of barbed wire. The barbed wire was interwined with
bushes and branches in order to prevent the possibility of seeing from
one section into the other.

Question: What did the first section of the "death camp" look like?

Answer: The first section of the "death camp" contained all the
service buildings of the servicing personnel. There were there four
barracks housing the Russian and Ukrainian guards, three barracks
housing the Germans who directed the mass extermination of the people.
The commander of the camp and his secretary lived in a separate
barrack. Right by the barbed wire separating the first section from
the second and the third stood the barrack surrounded by barbed wire
in which were housed some 1000 prisoners condemned to death. They were
called the "worker crew" and were used to service the camp. In
addition to the above mentioned barracks there were also two barracks
one of which served as storage area and bakery in which the prisoners
worked, and the other as a dining room for the Russians. A branch road
led from the Malkinia-Kosow highway to the first section of the camp.

Question: What did the second section of the "death camp" look like?

Answer: The second section of the "death camp" was the receiving point
of the doomed prisoners. A railroad branch extended here from
Treblinka village. Near the railroad stood two wooden barracks in
which the belongings and clothing of the people to be exterminated
were stored. One of the barracks had been given the appearance of a
railroad station. A wooder facsimile of a clock had been nailed above
it. Prior to each arrival of a fresh batch of doomed people, one of
the prisoners climbed on the roof of the barrack and moved the arms of
the clock to make it show the time corresponding approximately to the
actual time. A wooden sign represneting a hammer and saw was nailed
above the clock. Below the clock was a small panel on which the
schedule of departure of trains for L'vov, Rovno, Dnepropetrovsk,
Tarnopol and other Ukrainian cities was written in several languages.
Still further down were two small windows above one of which was a
sign that read "cashier" and above the other, another sign that read
"station master". All this decoration was made in order to delude the
people brought here to die. To complete the illusion, there were also
large posters reading "Palestine waits for you", "the Ukraine will
give you work and bread" and other slogans and appeals.

Question: What was the purpose of all this window-dressing?

Answer: All this was done so that the people brought into the camp to
be exterminated would not know until the last moment that they were
being led to death. This was not done out of humanitarian
considerations. The Germans who were in charge of the camp were real
beasts who found enormous pleasure in the extermination of people. I
myself was repeatedly confirmed in this belief. During the first years
of the existence of the camp, there was no such decoration of the
railroad station. Therefore, when the trains bringing in the doomed
prisoners arrived and their unloading began, the prisoners, sensing
that they were being led to extermination, began to dash around in
horror, screamed horribly, tried to escape, threw themselves against
the barbed wire and attempted to commit suicide. All this caused a lot
of problems for the Germans as well as for the guards. In March-April
1943, the Germans decided to install the above mentioned decorations
in order to reduce their workload.

After the barrack had been camouflaged into a railroad station, the
people brought to the death camp did not suspect the horrors closing
in on them.

Two more barracks stood about 70-100 meters from the above mentioned
two barracks situated by the railroad branch and serving as storage
space for belongings and clothing of the doomed prisoners. One of
these two barracks served as an undressing place for the women. The
men were undressed near the other barrack, right there on the street,
winter and summer. The food, belonging and clothing taken from the
doomed prisoners were stored inside this second barrack. Inside the
women's undressing room there was also a so-called "cashier's office"
where the women were ordered to hand over their money, jewelry, and
valuable for "safekeeping". Beyond the "cashier's office" booth was a
fenced in area where the hair of the women was cut. Men handed over
their valuables and money also in a special "cashier's office"
situated not far from the second barrack. Both barracks were fenced in
by barbed wire.

A road led from the undressing rooms the third section of the "death
camp" and terminated at the building where the extermination of people
took place.

Question: What did the third section of the "death camp" look like?

Answer: The road from the undressing rooms, fenced on both sides by
barbed wire intertwined with branches led to the gas chamber building
where people were exterminated with gas obtained from running diesel
engines. As the people directed to the gas chambers were told that
they were being taken to a bath-house, the outward appearance of the
gas chamber building was also made to resemble a bath house. It was a
single storied brick building, its exterior covered with plaster and
whitewashed. It was about 25 meters long and 15 meters wide. The
entrance to the building was ornate and there were stucco moldings.

Flowers grew right by in long boxes. There was no door at the
entrance. Instead of it there was a heavy hanging made from a rug.
Beyond it started a narrow passage which ended at the opposite wall.
To the right and to the left of the passage there were five doors that
closed hermetically and led into the special chambers where the
poisoning took place. The chambers were about six meters long and as
wide, about two to five-three meters high.. In the center of the
celing there was an electric light bulb in which there was no wiring
and there were two "shower" heads through which poisonous gas was fed
into the chamber.

The walls, floor and ceiling of the chamber were of cement. On the
opposite side to the entrance door there was another, likewise
hermetically closing door, through which the bodies of the poisoned
people were removed. As many as 500 men, women and children were
pushed into the chambers indiscriminately. Eight chambers out of the
ten existing in the gas chamber building were used to poison people.
In the two remaining ones, there were two powerful German engines,
about 1.5 meters high - two engines in all. Each engine fed gas to
four gas chambers. Some 20 meters from the above mentioned gas chamber
building stood the building of the old gas chambers, which contained
only three gas chambers. This building functioned until 1943. But as
it was unable to handle the enormous number of people brought by the
Germans to the "death camp", the new, large gas chamber building that
I have described above was built. After it came into use, the old one
was no longer utilized. An incinerator from the burning of bodies was
situated about 10 meters beyond the large gas chamber building. It had
the shape of a cement pit about one meter deep and 20 meters long. A
series of furnaces covered on the top with four rows of rails extended
along the entire length of one of the walls of the pit. The bodies
were laid on the rails, caught fire from the flames burning in the
furnaces and burned. About 1000 bodies were burned simultaneously. The
burning process lasted up to five hours. Not far from the gas chamber
building, also in the third section, there was a barrack housing the
working crew composed of doomed prisoners and which comprised up to
500 persons.

The testimony has been written down from my words correctly, has been
read by me - LELEKO


Senior Councillor of Justice /KUPTSOV/

"31" January 1978

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