Treblinka Memorial | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Treblinka Memorial

Poland

Luke Tomes

22 Apr 2021
Image Credit: History Hit

About Treblinka Memorial

Treblinka Memorial commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, particularly those 850,000 Jews who were murdered at Treblinka Extermination Camp between 1942 and 1943.

Treblinka Memorial History

Treblinka Extermination Camp, which operated from July 1942 until October 1943, was one of six mass extermination camps established by the Nazis in Poland.

It was established as a part of Operation Reinhard, the goal of which was to eliminate the Jewish population. It covered an area of 17 hectares and was surrounded by a high barbed wire fence. The camp was operated by a command staff of 30-40 Germans and Austrians who were assisted by around 100-120 guards.

The first transport of prisoners arrived on 23 July 1942, bringing Jews from the Warsaw ghetto. From that day on, Jews were brought here mainly from the occupied Poland, but also Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, the USSR, as well as Germany and Austria. Romani and Sinti people from Poland and Germany were also brought here.

The prisoners were gassed with exhaust fumes in gas chambers built specifically for that purpose. Around 850,000 people are estimated to have died here. To cover up these war crimes, the bodies were cremated on specially constructed grates.

On 2 August 1943, an armed uprising organised by prisoners broke out in the camp. Out of 840 people, only about 200 managed to escape. After the uprising, the camp was slowly shutting down. In November 1943, the camp’s structures were dismantled. A farmhouse was built for a Ukrainian family; the ground was ploughed and planted with lupine. The buildings were burned down before the approach of the eastern front.

⁠In total, extermination camps like Treblinka would claim the lives of 3 million people. The horrors these people were subjected to must never be forgotten.⁠

Treblinka Memorial today

In 1964 the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka was established. The monument designed by Adam Haupt, Franciszek Duszenko and Ftanciszek Strynkiewicz consist of three parts: a symbolic gate to the camp, from which a path, at the edge of the forest, leads towards the ramp where the wagons of victims were unloaded, parallel to the path run train tracks laid out with concrete blocks.

Near the ramp, on the right side of the path leading to the gas chambers, stand stones engraved with the names of the countries from which Jews were brought to Treblinka. In the center of the field near the ramp, a monument was erected using granite blocks, whose placement refers to the Wall of Tears in Jerusalem.

Surrounding the monument are 17,000 stones of varying sizes symbolizing matzevot- Jewish headstones and commemorating the 850,000 victims of the Holocaust whose final resting place is Treblinka. 216 of the stones bear the names of the cities and towns from which Jews were transported here.⁠ Beyond the monument, lies the area where bodies were cremated, commemorated with a rectangle of melted black basalt.

Visits to the Museum by children under the age of 14 are not recommended.

Getting to Treblinka Memorial

Treblinka memorial lies deep in dense forest roughly 50 miles north east of Warsaw. Note that the village called Treblinka is still well over two miles (3.5 km) from the actual site of the camp – so don’t go there, make sure you make clear that it’s the memorial you want to see.

If travelling by car from Warsaw, the most obvious route is via the No. 8/E67 trunk road towards Bialystok and then to branch off that route about 10 miles (15 km) past Wyszkow to the right into country road No. 694 leading towards Brok and Malkinia Gorna. Once you have reached Malkinia Gorna, take the 627 southbound straight toward Treblinka Memorial.

A⁠lternatively, you ca take a train from Warsaw Central Train Station to Małkinia. Once there, you will need to take a taxi to the camp, which is less than 10 kilometres away.

The memorial and neighbouring museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.