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The search for the exact location of burial places of prisoners of the German forced labour camp Treblinka I

As part of the investigation into the crimes committed in 1941–1944 against prisoners of the German forced labor camp Treblinka I, on 12 November 2019, the Prosecutor of the Branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Szczecin will carry out an examination of the site where the former camp operated. The adjacent area will also be inspected.

The purpose of the inspection of the camp grounds will be to determine the precise location of individual and mass graves, as well as places of execution of the prisoners.

The visual inspection will take the form of surface examinations and will be carried out with the participation of experts in such fields as photogrammetry and spatial information systems, archeology, anthropology and forensic medicine, with the use of specialized equipment. In order for these activities to be carried out, the Prosecutor has appointed a team of experts from domestic and foreign scientific institutions, namely from the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, the Warsaw University of Technology, the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Staffordshire University.

The inspection will not in any way be connected with the excavation of the remains which may be located in the examined places, the purpose of the planned activities being solely to determine the location of the graves and places of execution of the victims.

The Chief Rabbi of Poland and the President of the Association of Roma in Poland have been notified about the date of the inspection’s commencement.

The Treblinka I forced labour camp was established by order of the German Governor of the Warsaw District, Ludwig Fischer, of 15 November 1941, and operated until 23 July 1944. It occupied an area of ​​17 hectares and was located 2 kilometers from the German death camp Treblinka II.

Civilians, residents of the Sokołowski poviat and other poviats of the Warsaw district, were sent to the camp. The way to constantly "replenish the workforce" was to detain people gathered during round-ups and raids carried out in the cities of the Warsaw District, on railway routes and in nearby villages.

There were 1,000 to 2,000 prisoners in the camp at one time. The largest unit worked in a nearby quarry. Others tasks included erecting levees on the Bug River, drainage works and logging. The inmates were forced to work at least 10 hours a day, which meant that after a few weeks they were extremely exhausted and weak. This resulted in the emergence of diseases, which along with poor nutrition, led to high death rates.

At least a dozen or so thousand people passed through Treblinka I labour camp. The vast majority perished as a result of executions, starvation, exhaustion and diseases. The corpses of those who died as a result of exhaustion were buried in the nearby forest. It was also the place where executions of the wounded, sick and sentenced to death were carried out.

The forest adjacent to the Treblinka I labour camp was the execution site not only of the camp prisoners. By the order of the Governor of the Warsaw District, Ludwig Fischer, people brought in from Warsaw and Sokołów Podlaski, including Pawiak prisoners, were also executed there. The executions were carried out until the last moments of the functioning of the labour camp, i.e. until the end of July, and even the first days of August 1944.

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