Saturday, December 24, 2011

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Introduction (2). Overview and Historiography of Aktion Reinhard.

Overview and Historiography of Aktion Reinhard

Between March 1942 and October 1943, nearly 1.4 million Jews were deported to the camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. The camps were operated under the auspices of the SS and Police Leader (SS- und Polizeiführer, SSPF) Lublin, Odilo Globocnik, and used the codename ‘Einsatz Reinhardt’ or ‘Aktion Reinhard’. German SS men along with companies of Ukrainian auxiliaries trained at the Trawniki camp manned the camps in detachments designated ‘SS-Sonderkommando’. The majority of the German staff had previously served in six euthanasia ‘institutes’ in Germany as part of the T4 organisation named after its headquarters on Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin. There they had helped murder 70,000 ‘incurable’ psychiatric patients using carbon monoxide gas dispensed from cylinders, and to cremate the bodies.
The overwhelming majority of the 1.4 million Jewish deportees to the Aktion Reinhard camps died either en route or immediately after arrival, victims of the Nazi ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’. A tiny percentage were selected after arrival for forced labour either in the three camps or, more rarely, in nearby labour camps, work which the majority did not survive. A significant number of the deportees died en route while still on the trains from asphyxiation or exhaustion. Many more were shot immediately after arrival for resisting or because they were deemed too weak to walk towards the main killing method at the three camps, gas chambers into which carbon monoxide-laden engine exhaust fumes were piped. At first, the corpses of the victims – from whatever cause – were dragged to mass graves by the Jewish slave labourers who had been temporarily spared execution and buried there; later on, the decomposed and decomposing bodies were exhumed and burned on large open-air pyres along with the corpses of newly arrived victims. In two of the three camps, the slave labourers successfully revolted, breaking out of Treblinka in August 1943 and Sobibor in October 1943.
Most of the victims of Aktion Reinhard were Polish Jews from the Warsaw, Radom, Cracow, Lublin and Galicia districts of the Generalgouvernement as well as the Zichenau and Bialystok districts annexed into Germany proper. But transports arrived directly or indirectly at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka from Germany, Austria, the so-called ‘Protectorate’ of Bohemia-Moravia (today’s Czech Republic), Slovakia, the Yugoslavian region of Macedonia, the Greek region of Thrace, France, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Belorussia. Virtually none survived. Precisely two out of 17,004 Jews deported from Theresienstadt to Treblinka in the autumn of 1942 were alive at the time of liberation. Among those who did not survive were three of Sigmund Freud’s sisters.[31] Of the 34,313 Jews deported from the Netherlands to Sobibor in the spring and early summer of 1943, just 18 survived the war.[32]
How do we know all this? How did we come to know about Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka? A short answer to this question would go something like this: during the war, reports began to appear within a month of the opening of Belzec that large numbers of Jews were entering the camp and not coming out.[33] A growing number of reports reaching the Polish underground state, the Delegatura, as well as Jewish organizations such as the Oneg Shabes archive in Warsaw[34], led virtually all within Poland quickly to conclude that Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were sites of extermination. Hearsay rumours of the use of electricity and steam circulated among the Polish and Jewish population of Poland as well as among German occupation officials and troops, but the majority of the reports in Poland converged on the use of gas chambers. Eyewitness accounts were written at the time by a small number of escaped prisoners.[35] The news was communicated in partially distorted form to the outside world. Reports of Belzec and Sobibor reached London along with reports on the Chelmno extermination camp in the annexed territory of the Warthegau, in June 1942.[36] A further crucial report, combining information compiled by Oneg Shabes with Polish underground sources, was brought out by the Polish underground courier Jan Karski in November 1942[37], and together with other evidence from other regions of Nazi-occupied Europe, led the Allies to issue a declaration in December 1942 condemning the Nazi extermination of the Jews.[38] Further reports leaked out via exchanges of citizens of Mandate Palestine with interned Germans[39], Slovakia[40], Sweden[41] and into Germany.[42] By 1943, the Polish underground was tracking the course of the extermination campaign as well as the cover-up attempts of the Nazis at the camps very closely.[43] Wartime publications outside Nazi-occupied Europe reprinted some of the most crucial early reports, complete with inaccuracies such as misidentifying gas chambers as steam chambers[44], while other publications, based on more recent reports without the distortion of wartime hearsay and Chinese whispers, spoke of gas chambers[45], and newspapers reprinted testimonies from Treblinka escapees offering a detailed account of the extermination process.[46]
In the summer of 1944, the sites of the three camps were overrun in the Soviet summer offensive, and survivors began to come out of hiding, joining nearby villagers who had observed the killing and burning on their doorsteps in giving testimonies and statements to Polish and Soviet investigators[47] as well as Polish and Soviet journalists[48]; these recipients were soon joined by the Central Jewish Historical Commission of Poland[49], which took down further testimonies and also began the process of historical research by sifting through captured German documents[50] as well as publishing memoirs, narrative accounts and studies in Polish and Yiddish.[51] The sites – which rapidly resembled moonscapes due to grave-robbing by peasants and others searching for imaginary ‘Jewish gold’ –  were inspected in 1944 by the Soviets and examined in greater detail by investigators of the Polish Main Commission in the autumn of 1945. Enormous quantities of ash from cremains as well as other body parts littered the sites, which stank according to visitors who recorded their impressions at the time.[52] Utilising eyewitness testimonies, the physical inspections and investigations of the condition of the sites and a certain number of captured German documents, the Polish Main Commission concluded that Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka had been extermination camps and estimated the number of victims at 1,631,000 (Belzec: 600,000; Sobibor: 250,000; Treblinka: 781,000), rejecting earlier overestimates from disoriented survivors that ranged up to 2 or 3 million per camp.[53] The evidence gathered was then used in certain trials of Nazi officials extradited to postwar Poland. For example the Treblinka investigation was submitted in toto at the trial of Ludwig Fischer, the governor of the Warsaw district.[54]
At the same time as investigations in Poland were under way, eyewitnesses began to give testimonies in Western Europe, some from survivors and some from SS men who had visited the camps or knew of their purpose. German documentary evidence, not least from the official diary of Hans Frank’s Generalgouvernement administration, was examined and conclusively proved that Nazi policy towards Polish Jews was one of extermination, leaving only a minority alive temporarily as slave labourers.  The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg as well as the successor Doctors’ Trial[55] and Oswald Pohl Trial collectively uncovered the evidence of the T4-Aktion Reinhard connection, the involvement of the SS Economic and Administration Main Office (Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt, WVHA) in the processing of plunder as well as the role of Odilo Globocnik in directing Aktion Reinhard.[56] The Dutch Red Cross launched a systematic investigation of the fate of the 34,313 Dutch Jews deported to Sobibor, based on the records of the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands and the testimonies of the 18 survivors.[57] Dutch cooperation with the Polish Main Commission over Sobibor was close.[58]
By the end of the 1940s, the evidence for extermination at the Aktion Reinhard Camps was sufficiently conclusive that they could be labeled a historical fact. However, only a fraction of the total evidence had hitherto come to light. Historians began the process of ­research, aided on the one hand by the publication of many documents and other sources from the 1940s trials, but hampered by lack of access to the full range of sources – as was universal in an era before anyone had thought of a Freedom of Information Act. Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were prominently discussed in all of the original pioneering overviews by Leon Poliakov, Gerald Reitlinger, Arthur Eisenbach and Raul Hilberg published from 1951 to 1961.[59] Indeed, Eisenbach published the first short English-language overview of Aktion Reinhard in 1962.[60] Outside the academy, survivors and members of the landsmanshaften of the erased Jewish communities of Poland began to compile so-called yizker bukher or memorial books, and a number of these memorial books contained the testimonies of Sobibor and Treblinka survivors, as well as copious detail on the deportations, and escapes from deportation trains.[61]
In contrast to other Nazi camps, the staff of Aktion Reinhard was slow to be apprehended, not least because the camps were closed down and the personnel transferred to other duties long before the end of war, whereas concentration camp staff was generally captured in or near to concentration camps in the spring of 1945. Many, like Christian Wirth, the “inspector” of the three camps, had died during the war. Globocnik had committed suicide in 1945, and key subordinates such as Franz Stangl, the commandant of Sobibor and Treblinka, had assumed false identities and later fled to Latin America. Thus it was not until 1948-1950 that the first SS men who had served at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were interrogated about their activities by detectives from the newly created state of West Germany, in the course of the judicial investigation of the T4 euthanasia program, and then put on trial.[62] Their Ukrainian auxiliaries, however, had been apprehended and interrogated in ever increasing numbers by Soviet investigators starting in September 1944, but it was not until several decades later that these statements began to be made available in the West.[63] In 1958, West Germany began to investigate Nazi crimes systematically through the Central Office of State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes (Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklärung nationalsocialistischer Verbrechen)[64], and succeeded in apprehending a significant number of the Aktion Reinhard SS, prosecuting them in a series of trials in the 1960s while also investigating and prosecuting the crimes of other SS and Police commands that had been involved in the deportation side of Aktion Reinhard.[65] The capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann prompted a further bout of publications of evidence of Nazi crimes, including the crimes of Aktion Reinhard[66], and saw a number of survivors of Sobibor and Treblinka give evidence during the trial.[67]
At the same time, there were a series of trials of Trawniki men in the Soviet Union. From the 1970s, judicial investigations of Aktion Reinhard revolved almost entirely around the Trawniki men, with trials in West Germany of the commandant of Trawniki, Karl Streibel, as well as of a Trawniki man assigned to the Treblinka I labour camp. Trawnikis who had emigrated to the United States and Canada began to be investigated from the end of the 1970s, in the US under the auspices of the Office of Special Investigations[68], and in Canada by a unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These investigations benefited from increased cooperation between the Soviet Union, West Germany and North America, and led to denaturalization proceedings and the deportation of Nazis and their collaborators who had lied while immigrating. The most prominent case involved a Trawniki man, Ivan Demjanjuk, who was denaturalized and deported to Israel, which prosecuted him for his alleged role at Treblinka in 1987, convicting him and sentencing him to death.[69] This sentence was overturned on appeal due to the emergence of new evidence and the realisation that this was a case of mistaken identity[70]; Demjanjuk had not been “Ivan the Terrible” but had in fact been a guard at Sobibor. Returning to the US, Demjanjuk was again denaturalized and deported to Germany in 2009, where he was put on trial in 2010 and convicted in May 2011, almost certainly the last man to be tried for his involvement in Aktion Reinhard.[71]
Our knowledge of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka does not, however, rest solely on judicial investigations. From the 1960s onwards, journalists, freelance writers and documentary film-makers portrayed these camps using classic journalistic methods, interviewing survivors and perpetrators.[72] The first such journalistic account, by Jean-Francois Steiner, led to a major public controversy in France in the mid-1960s.[73] Survivors of the camps also offered their own accounts, producing a series of memoirs and in some cases, engaging in their own historical research.[74] Survivors were also responsible for editing two important collections of testimonies from Treblinka and Sobibor that appeared in 1979 and 1980 respectively.[75] Kurt Gerstein, an SS officer who visited Belzec in August 1942 and witnessed a gassing, became a kind of icon in postwar West Germany due to the widespread dissemination of his eyewitness account and the ambiguity of his role as an SS officer responsible for supplying Auschwitz with Zyklon B but who also tried to spread the news of extermination.[76]
From an even earlier stage, historians examined the Aktion Reinhard camps both in their own right and in the context of other aspects of the Holocaust. Documents were uncovered that had remained unknown to the earlier war crimes investigations; contemporary sources ranging from diaries and letters to the contents of Jewish underground archives, the intelligence reports of the Delegatura and Polish underground newspapers were edited and published. Some historians writing on Aktion Reinhard, like Wolfgang Scheffler, had served as an expert witness in the West German trials and produced no comprehensive overview.[77] Others, like the Israeli historian Yitzhak Arad, a survivor of the Wilno ghetto and a sometime director of Yad Vashem, contributed essays and encyclopedia entries on the Aktion Reinhard camps and also produced the first comprehensive monograph of all three camps in 1987.[78] In the 1980s, writers and historians such as Ernst Klee, Michael Burleigh and Henry Friedlander also explored the connection between the T4 euthanasia program and the Nazi Final Solution.[79] A variety of brochures and short books from Polish and German authors and historians of varying calibres have appeared in recent decades.[80] Amateur researchers such as Michael Tregenza[81] as well as historians working largely outside the academy such as Robin O’Neil[82]  and Stephen Tyas[83] have played a significant role in discovering new documents or researching camps such as Belzec, while the German private researcher Peter Witte has done important work on Sobibor and the surrounding context of Aktion Reinhard.[84]
At the same time, professional historians have not remained idle, most notably in Poland, where earlier discussions at conferences of the 1980s[85] have given way to a fairly systematic research effort. A major conference on ‘Aktion Reinhard’ was held in the German Historical Institute in Warsaw in 2002, with the proceedings published in both German and Polish in 2004, bringing together articles by Polish, German, Israeli and American historians on many aspects of Aktion Reinhard.[86] By the 2000s, biographies and biographical essays on key perpetrators within Aktion Reinhard, including Odilo Globocnik[87], the first commandant of Treblinka, Irmfried Eberl[88], but also more junior SS men[89], were appearing. The publication of the camps encyclopedia Ort des Terrors in the late 2000s combined rather insubstantial entries based on secondary literature for Sobibor and Treblinka, written by the editors Barbara Distel and Wolfgang Benz, with a thorough description of Belzec written by the director of the Belzec Museum, Dr. Robert Kuwałek[90], whose monograph on Belzec appeared in Polish in late 2010.[91] Kuwałek’s counterpart at the Sobibor Museum, Marek Bem, has recently edited a collection of testimonies in Polish[92], while Russian researchers have produced an oral history of the Sobibor revolt from accounts of Russian survivors.[93] A series of articles on the Trawnikis have also appeared in academic journals and edited collections, including examinations of the cohort of Trawnikis at Belzec by Dieter Pohl[94] as well as studies by David Rich and Peter Black, researchers who work or have worked for the OSI and its successor office within the US Department of Justice on Trawniki cases.[95] Work has also been done on the memorialisation of the sites, research which has uncovered further information about the condition of the sites from 1944 to the erection of memorials from the 1960s onwards.[96] Finally, in the late 1990s and 2000s, archaeologists, most notably Andrzej Kola, have examined the sites of Belzec[97] and Sobibor[98] and provided much more information than had been possible with 1940s techniques and the limited resources of devastated postwar Poland, especially on the size and shape of the mass graves, using techniques such as aerial photography and bore-probes. Further archaeological work is planned for Treblinka.[99]
The question “how do we know about Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka?” is thus answered: from a variety of investigations. Some have been legal, some have been what the Russians call “medico-legal”, i.e. forensic; some archaeological; some journalistic; many historical. Accumulating over time, our knowledge and understanding of the three camps – just as with any historical event – has deepened and been refined progressively. Moreover, this process will not stop any time soon. Quite aside from the prospect of further archaeological research, historians of the Holocaust are exceedingly unlikely to leave the subject of the Aktion Reinhard camps alone. The results of the past two decades of research, especially since the end of the Cold War and the opening up of archives in Eastern Europe, have accumulated faster than they can be synthesised into a single work. The time is ripe for a comprehensive monograph on the Aktion Reinhard camps, since our understanding of both the camps themselves as well as their context has changed considerably in the last quarter-century.[100] One or more will undoubtedly be written within the next five to ten years. Bemoaning its absence today would be to commit the single-study fallacy, and to ignore how the exact same issue confronts virtually every topic. Research is ultimately no different to painting the proverbial Forth Bridge: as soon as you have completed one coat, you have to do it all over again.

[31] Alfred Gottwaldt, ‘Sigmund Freuds Schwestern und der Tod. Anmerkungen zu ihrem Schicksal in Deportation und Massenmord’, Psyche 58, 2004, pp.533-543. On these transports see also Miroslav Karny, ‘Das Schicksal der Theresienstädter Osttransporte im Sommer und Herbst 1942’, Judaica Bohemiae, 1988.
[32] Schelvis, Sobibor. A History of a Nazi Death Camp, New York, 2007, p.227 n.12: “Earlier publications reported nineteen survivors. However, one of the women, Jeanette de Vries-Blitz, who registered as a survivor with the Red Cross, was actually never at Sobibór according to the Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (NIOD).”
[33] For the most recent and most comprehensive overview on the initial reports of extermination in Poland, see Adam Puławski, W obliczu Zagłady. Rząd RP na Uchodźstwie, Delegatura Rządu RP na Kraj, ZWZ-AK wobec deportacji Żydów do obozów zagłady (1941-1942). Lublin: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2009.
[34] Samuel Kassow, Who Will Write Our History? Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto. London, 2007.
[35] Most notably the comprehensive account by Treblinka escapee Abraham Krzepicki, given to Oneg Shabes and published after the war as Abraham Krzepicki, ‘Treblinka’, Biuletyn ZIH 43-44, 1962, pp.84-109, translated in  Alexander Donat (ed.), The Death Camp Treblinka, New York: Holocaust Library, 1979, as well as the account by Yankiel Wiernik, Rok w Treblince, Warsaw, 1944, translated as A Year In Treblinka, New York, 1944; two more wartime (1943-44) accounts by escapees from the Treblinka extermination camp and labour camp have recently been published as Israel Cymlich and Oskar Strawczynski, Escaping Hell in Treblinka. New York: Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project, 2007.
[36] A good summary of this phase is in Dariusz Stola, ‘Early News of the Holocaust from Poland’, HGS 11/1, 1997, pp.1-27. For background on the Polish government-in-exile’s reactions to the Holocaust, see David Engel, In the Shadow of Auschwitz: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1939-1942. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987, and Facing a Holocaust. The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews 1943-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
[37] David Engel, ‘Jan Karski’s Mission to the West, 1942-1944’, HGS 5/4, 1990, pp.363-380; Thomas E. Wood and Stanislaw M. Jankowski, Karski: How One Man tried to Stop the Holocaust. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994.
[38] The spread of reports of extermination is well covered in Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret. An Investigation into the Suppression of Information About Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’. London, 1980 and Martin Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies. London, 1981.
[39] Tuvia Frilling, Arrows in the Dark. David Ben-Gurion, the Yishuv Leadership, and Rescue Attempts During the Holocaust. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.
[40] Gila Fatran, ‘The “Working Group”,’ HGS 8/2, 1994, pp.164-201.
[41] Jozef Lewandowski, ‘Early Swedish Information about the Nazis’ Mass Murder of the Jews’, Polin, 2000.
[42] The most comprehensive account of German knowledge is Bernward Dörner, Die Deutschen und der Holocaust. Was niemand wissen wollte, aber jeder wissen konnte. Berlin: Proyläen, 2007.
[43] Excerpts from the reports, which consisted of individual, weekly/fortnightly and monthly overviews , have been published in Maria Tyszkowa, ‘Eksteminacja Żydów w latach 1941-1943. Dokumenty Biura Informacji i Propagandy KG AK w zbiorach oddziału rękopisów BUW’, Biuletyn ŻIH 4, 1964; Krystyna Marczewska and Władysław Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury Rządu RP na Kraj’, in: Biuletyn Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, XIX, Warsaw 1968, pp.129-164; Jozef Marszalek, ‘Rozpoznanie Obozów Śmierci w Bełżcu, Sobiborze i Treblince przez wywiad A.K. i Delegatury Rządu Rzeczypospolitej na Kraj. i Armii Krajowej’, Zeszyty Majdanka t. 14, 1992, pp.39-59;  underground press commentary is surveyed in Bogdan Chrzanowski, ‘Eksterminacja ludnosci zydowskiej w swietle polskich wydawnictw konspiracyjnych’, BZIH 133-134, 1985, pp.85-104 and in the dissertation by Klaus-Peter Friedrich, Der nationalsozialistische Judenmord in polnischen Augen: Einstellungen in den polnischen Presse 1942-1946/47, PhD, Universität zu Köln, 2002.
[44] Jacob Apenszlak (ed), The Black Book of Polish Jewry. An Account of the Martyrdom of Polish Jewry under the Nazi Occupation. New York, 1943.
[45] Jacob Apenszlak and Moshe Polakiewicz, Armed Resistance of the Jews in Poland. New York: American Federation of Polish Jews, 1944.
[46] Canadian Jewish Chronicle, 13.1.1944. The account published here is identical with the information conveyed by David Milgroim, who escaped Treblinka in 1942, via Slovakia in August 1943. See Richard Breitman, ‘Other Responses to the Holocaust’ in: Richard Breitman, Norman W. Goda, Timothy Naftali and Robert Wolfe (eds), U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp.45-72, here p.51
[47] Excerpts of the Soviet 65th Army’s 1944 investigation into Treblinka were published in F.D. Sverdlov (ed), Dokumenty obviniaiout. Kholokost: svidetel’stva Krasnoi Armii. Moscow, 1996.
[48] The best known accounts are: Vasily Grossman, Treblinksii ad, Moscow 1944 and many subsequent reprints/translations; Ilya Ehrenburg, ‘Sobibor’, in: Jewish Black Book Committee, The Black book: the Nazi crime against the Jewish people. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946 and also intended to be published in the suppressed Russian-language edition of the Black Book.
[49] On the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, see Laura Jockusch, ‘Collect and Record! Help to Write the History of the Latest Destruction!’ Jewish Historical Commissions in Europe, 1943-1953, PhD, New York University, 2007, pp.146-237; Feliks Tych, ‘The Emergence of Holocaust Research in Poland: The Jewish Historical Commission and the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland (ŻIH), 1944-1989’ in David Bankier and Dan Michman (eds), Holocaust Historiography in Context: Emergence, Challenges, Polemics and Achievements, Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2008, pp.227-244.
[50] Samples of both testimonies and documents were published in the three volumes of the Dokumenty i materialy series.
[51] A good overview of the early historiography of the Holocaust in Poland can be found in Natalia Aleksiun, ‘Polish Historiography of the Holocaust – Between Silence and Public Debate’, German History Vol 22 No 3, 2004, pp.406-432.
[52] See Martyna Rusiniak, Treblinka – Eldorado Podlasia?’, Kwartalnik Historii Zydow 2/2006, pp.200-211; Jan Tomasz Gross, Zlote zniwa. Rzecz o tym, co sie dzialo na obrzezach zaglady Zydow. Krakow: Znak, 2011.
[53] Summaries of the reports were published in Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland (ed), German crimes in Poland, Warsaw 1946-7, an English translation of the first two volumes of Biuletyn Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Longer versions of reports on indvidual camps were published as Zdzisław Łukaszkiewicz, Obóz straceń w Treblince, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warsaw 1946; On the Polish Main Commission in general, see Andreas Mix, 'Juristische Ermittlungen und historische Forschung in Polen. Von der "Hauptkommission" zum Institut des Nationalen Gedenkens' in Benz, Wolfgang (ed), Wann ziehen wir endlich den Schlussstrich? Von der Notwendigkeit öffentlicher Erinnerung in Deutschland, Polen und Tschechien. Berlin: Metropol, Berlin, 2004, pp.75-94.
[54] See the files AIPN NTN 69 and 70. On Polish war crimes trials see in general Bogdan Musial, ‚NS-Verbrecher vor polnischen Gerichten’, VfZ 47, 1999, pp.25-58; Alexander Victor Prusin, ‘Poland's Nuremberg: The Seven Court Cases of the Supreme National Tribunal, 1946-1948’, HGS, 24/1, 2010, pp. 1-25.
[55] Ulf Schmidt, Justice at Nuremberg : Leo Alexander and the Nazi doctors trial. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004; Paul Weindling, Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials. From Medical War Crimes to Informed Consent. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
[56] Stanisław Piotrowski, Misja Odyla Globocnika: sprawozdania o wynikach finansowych zagłady żydów w Polsce, Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1949.
[57] Affwikkelingsbureau Concentratiecampen, Sobibor, ‘s Gravenhage, 1946; Informatiebureau van Het Nederlansche Roode Kruis, Sobibor, ‘s Gravenhage, 1947; A de Haas, L Landsberger, K Selowsky, Sobibor : rapport omtrent de Joden, uit Nederland gedeporteerd naar het kamp Sobibor, 4de verb. en aangev. uitg., 's Gravenhage : Vereniging het Ned. Roode Kruis, 1952.
[58] See the correspondence in AIPN Ob.60.
[59] Leon Poliakov, Breviare de la haine, Paris, 1951; Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945, London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1953; Arthur Eisenbach, Hitlerowska polityka eksterminacji Żydów w latach 1939-1945 jako jeden z przejawów imperializmu niemieckiego, Warsaw: ZIH, 1953 and Hitlerowska polityka zaglady Zydow, Warsaw, 1961; Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of European Jews, Chicago: Quadrangle, 1961.
[60] Artur Eisenbach, ‘Operation Reinhard, Mass Extermination of the Jewish Population in Poland’, Polish Western Affairs 3, 1962, pp.80-124.
[61] On the memorial books see Jack Kugelmass and Jonathan Boyarin (eds), From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998, 2nd expanded edition.
[62] Dick de Mildt, In The Name of the People: Perpetrators of Genocide in the Reflection of their Postwar Prosecution in West Germany. The ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘Aktion Reinhard’ Trial Cases. The Hague, 1996; Michael S. Bryant, Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2005.
[63] Dieter Pohl, ‘Sowjetische und polnische Strafverfahren wegen NS-Verbrehcen – Quellen für den Historiker?’ in Andreas Wirsching, Jürgen Finger and Sven Keller (eds), Vom Recht zur Geschichte. Akten aus NS-Prozessen als Quellen der Zeitgeschichte, Göttingen: Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht , 2009, pp.132-141.
[64] Annette Weinke, Eine Gesellschaft ermittelt gegen sich selbst. Die Geschichte der Zentralen Stelle in Ludwigsburg 1958-2008, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2008; Hans H. Pöschko (ed). Die Ermittler von Ludwigsburg. Deutschland und die Aufklärung nationalsozialistischer Verbrechen. Berlin, 2008
[65] Adalbert Rückerl, NS-Vernichtungslager im Spiegel deutscher Strafprozesse. Munich, 1977; de Mildt, In the Name of the People.
[66] Szymon Datner; Janusz Gumkowski; Kazimierz Leszczynski, Zbrodnie Adolfa Eichmanna. Cz. 2, Wysiedlana w Zamojszczyznie. Zagłada Zydów w obozach na Ziemiach Polskich, Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Prawnicze, 1960.
[67] See the transcript published as State of Israel, Ministry of Justice (ed), The Trial of Adolf Eichmann. Record of Proceedings in the District Court of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 1993 , available online at On the role of witnesses at the Eichmann trial, see Lawrence Douglas, The Memory of Judgement. Making Law And History In The Trials Of The Holocaust. London: Yale University Press, 2001, pp.97-182
[68] On the early years of the OSI, see Allan Ryan, Quiet Neighbors. Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals in America, New York, 1984; on Canadian  context see David Matas with Susan Charendoff, Justice Delayed: Nazi War Criminals in Canada, Toronto: Summerhill Press, 1987; Howard Margolian, Unauthorized Entry: The Truth about War Criminals in Canada, 1946-1956, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
[69] For accounts of the trial, see Tom Teicholz, Ivan the Terrible. The Trial of John Demjanjuk. London, 1990  as well as the memoir of his defense lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, Show Trial. The Conspiracy to Convict John Demjanjuk as ‚Ivan the Terrible’. London, 1994.
[70] The most comprehensive examination of the mistaken identity aspect of the case is in Willem A. Wagenaar, Identifying Ivan. A Case Study in Legal Psychology. Hemel Hempsted, 1988. Wagenaar was an expert witness for Demjanjuk’s defense.
[71] Heinrich Wefing, Der Fall Demjanjuk: der letzte grosse NS-Prozess. Das Leben, der Prozess, das Urteil. Munich: Beck, 2011; Angelika Benz, Der Henkersknecht: Der Prozess gegen John (Iwan) Demjanjuk in München, Berlin: Metropol, 2011.
[72] Jean-François Steiner, Treblinka, Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 1966;  English edition: Simon and Schuster, New York 1967; Gitta Sereny, Into That Darkness. New York, 1974; Richard Rashke, Escape from Sobibor: The Heroic Story of the Jews Who Escaped a Nazi Death Camp. New York, 1982. The French film-maker interviewed Franz Suchomel as well as bystanders and survivors of Treblinka for his documentary ‘Shoa’. See  Claude Lanzmann, Shoa, Paris: Editions Fayard, 1985, translated as Shoa, DaCapo Press, New York 1995.
[73] Samuel Moyn, A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France. Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2005. Statements from survivors refuting Steiner’s misrepresentations and fictionalisations were gathered in Miriam Novitch, La vérité sur Treblinka, Paris: Presses du temps présent, 1967.
[74] Most notably, Jules Schelvis, Vernichtungslager Sobibór, Berlin: Metropol, 1998 and Hamburg/Münster, 2003; translated as Sobibor, Oxford: Berg, 2008.
[75] Donat (ed), The Death Camp Treblinka; Miriam Novitch, Sobibor. Martyrdom and Revolt. New York, 1980.
[76] Gerstein’s testimony was published numerous times in the 1950s and 1960s, with an introduction by Hans Rothfels as ‘Augenzeugenbericht zu den Massenvergasungen’, VfZ 2, 1953, pp.177-194 and in the widely-disseminated brochure Dokumentation zur Massenvergasung, Bonn, 1962. For other examples of his iconic status  in West Germany, see IfZ Zs 0326. His international fame was the result of Rolf Hochhuth’s controversial play Der Stellvertreter (The Deputy) in 1963. For 1960s examinations of Gerstein, see  Saul Friedländer, Kurt Gerstein ou l’ambiguïté du bien, Tournai: Casterman, 1967,  translated as Counterfeit Nazi: the ambiguity of good, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969; Pierre Joffroy, L'espion de Dieu. La passion de Kurt Gerstein, Paris: Robert Laffont, 1969. For modern reexaminations, see Bernd Hey et al, Kurt Gerstein (1905 - 1945). Widerstand in SS-Uniform. Bielefeld, 2003; Florent Brayard, ‘L'humanité versus zyklon B: L'ambiguïté du choix de Kurt Gerstein’, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire, No. 73, Jan. - Mar., 2002, pp. 15-25; ‘ “Grasping the Spokes of the Wheel of History”. Gerstein, Eichmann and the Genocide of the Jews’, History & Memory, 20/1, Spring/Summer 2008, pp.48-88; Valerie Hébert, Kurt Gerstein’s Actions and Intentions in the Light of Three Postwar Legal Proceedings. MA thesis, McGill University, 1999; idem, ‘Disguised Resistance? The Story of Kurt Gerstein’, HGS 20/1, Spring 2006, pp. 1-33.
[77] Ino Arndt and Wolfgang Scheffler, ‘Organisierter Massenmord an Juden in Nationalsozialistische Vernichtungslagern’, VfZ 2/1976, pp.105-135; Wolfgang Scheffler, ‘Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor und Treblinka’ in Eberhard Jäckel and Jürgen Rohwehr (eds), Der Mord an den Juden im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Entschlußbildung und Verwirklichung, Stuttgart: DVA, 1985, and ‘Probleme der Holocaustforschung’ in Stefi Jersch-Wenzel (eds), Deutsche, Polen, Juden, Berlin: Colloquium-Verlag, 1987, pp.259-281.
[78] Yitzhak Arad, ‘Aktion Reinhard’ in:  Eugen Kogon, Hermann Langbein and Adalbert Rückerl (eds), Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, Frankfurt am Main, 1983;  “Operation Reinhard”: Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka’, Yad Vashem Studies XVI, 1984, pp.205-239; Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987; entries on Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka in Israel Gutman (ed), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust,  New York: Macmillan, 1990.
[79] Ernst Klee, “Euthanasie” im NS-Staat: Die “Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens”. Frankfurt: Fischer Verlag, 1983; Michael Burleigh, Death and Deliverance. ‘Euthanasia’ in Germany 1900-1945. Cambridge, 1994; Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide. From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
[80] As the largest of the three camps, Treblinka has been more extensively written up than either Belzec or Sobibor. See Janusz Gumkowski and Adam Rutkowski, Treblinka, Warsaw, 1961-2 (editions in Polish, English, French, German and other languages); Ryszard Czarkowski, Cieniom Treblinki, Warsaw, 1989; Manfred Burba, Treblinka. Ein NS-Vernichtungslager im Rahmen der “Aktion Reinhard”, Göttingen 1995; Witold Chrostowski, Extermination Camp Treblinka, London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004; Ian Baxter, The SS of Treblinka, Stroud: The History Press, 2010. On Sobibor see Zbigniew Sulimerski, Sobibór. Hitlerowski Obóz Smierci, Chelm, 1993.
[81] Michael Tregenza, ‘Christian Wirth: Inspekteur der SS-Sonderkommandos 'Aktion Reinhard',’  Zeszyty Majdanka, t.XV, 1993; ‘Belzec - Das vergessene Lager des Holocaust’ in Irmtrud  Wojak and Peter  Hayes (eds), "Arisierung" im Nationalsozialismus, Volksgemeinschaft, Raub und Gedächtnis. Frankfurt am Main, 2000; ‘Bełżec – okres eksperymentalny. Listopad 1941 – kwiecień 1942’, Zeszyty Majdanka, t. XXI, 2001.
[82] Robin O’Neil, ‘Belzec – the ‘Forgotten’ death camp’, East European Jewish Affairs 28, 1998, pp.49-69; Belzec: Stepping Stone to Genocide. Hitler’s Answer to the Final Solution, 2004, online at .
[83] Most notably, by discovering the so-called Höfle telegram giving the 1942 statistics intercepted by Bletchley Park in 1943. See Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas, ‘A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of Jews during ‘Einsatz Reinhardt’ 1942’, HGS 15/3, 2001, pp.468-486.
[84] Witte’s assistance is explicitly acknowledged in the work of Jules Schelvis.
[85] Szymon Leczycki, ‘Obozy zagłady w Bełżcu, Sobiborze i Treblince (Międzynarodowa konferencja, Lublin 22–27 VIII 1987)’, Państwo i Prawo 43/2, 1988, pp.130–132; Piotr Madajczyk, Bełżec, Sobibor, ‘Treblinka jako obozy natychmiastowej zagłady’, Przegląd Zachodni 44/3, 1988, p.191ff.
[86] Bogdan Musial (ed), “Aktion Reinhardt”. Der Völkermord an den Juden im Generalgouvernement 1941-1944. Osnabrück: fibre Verlag, 2004; Dariusz Libionka (ed), Akcja Reinhardt. Zagłada Żydów w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie. Warsaw: IPN, 2004.
[87] Joseph Poprzeczny, Odilo Globocnik, Hitler’s Man in the East. London: McFarland & Company, 2004; Berndt Rieger, Creator of Nazi Death Camps. The Life of Odilo Globocnik. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007.
[88] Michael Grabher, Irmfried Eberl. ‚Euthanasie’-Arzt und Kommandant von Treblinka. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2006.
[89] Jan H. Fahlbusch, ‘Im Zentrum des Massenmordes. Ernst Zierke im Vernichtungslager Belzec’, in: Andreas Mix (ed), KZ-Verbrechen. Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Berlin: Metropol,  2007.
[90] Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel (eds), Der Ort des Terrors. Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. Band 8: Riga-Kaiserwald, Warschau, Vaivara, Kauen (Kaunas), Plaszow, Kulmhof/Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2008.
[91] Robert Kuwałek, Obóz zagłady w Bełżcu. Lublin: Wydawnictwo Państwowe Muzeum na Majdanku, 2010.
[92] Marek Bem (ed), Sobibor. Warsaw: Osrodek Karta. Dom Spotkan z Historia, 2010.
[93] S.S. Vilenskii, F,B. Gorbovitskii, L.A. Tyorushkin (eds), Sobibor, Vosstanie v lagere smerti. Moscow: Vozvrashchenie, 2010.
[94] Dieter Pohl, ‘Die Trawniki-Männer im Vernichtungslager Belzec 1941–1943,’ in Alfred Gottwaldt, Norbert Kampe and Peter Klein (eds), NS-Gewaltherrschaft: Beiträge zur historischen Forschung und juristischen Aufarbeitung. Berlin: Edition Heinrich, 2005, pp.278–89.
[95] David A. Rich, 'Reinhard's Foot Soldiers: Soviet Trophy Documents and Investigative Records as Sources', in: John K. Roth & Elizabeth Maxwell (eds), Remembering for the Future: the Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, Vol. 1 (History), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001, pp.688-701; Peter Black, ‘Die Trawniki Männer und die ‘Aktion Reinhard’,’ in Musial (ed), Aktion Reinhard, pp. 309–52, expanded in English as ‘Foot Soldiers of the Final Solution: The Trawniki Training Camp and Operation Reinhard’, HGS 25/1, 2011, pp.1-99.
[96] Martyna Rusiniak, Oboz zaglady Treblinka II w pamieci spolecznej (1943-1989). Warsaw, 2008; cf. also Barbara Buntman, 'Tourism and Tragedy: The Memorial at Belzec, Poland', International Journal of Heritage Studies 14/5, 2008, pp. 422-448.
[97] Andrzej Kola, Bełżec: the Nazi Camp for Jews in Light of Archaeological Sources: Excavations 1997-1999, Warsaw and Washington: The Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000.
[98] Andrzej Kola‚ ‘Badania archeologiczne terenu byłego obozu zagłady Żydów w Sobiborze’, Przeszłość i Pamięć. Biuletyn Rady Ochroni Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa, 4, 2001, pp.115-122; Isaac Gilead, Yoram  Haimi,  Wojciech Mazurek, ‘Excavating Nazi Extermination Centres’, Present Pasts, 1, 2009, pp.10-39. Further excavations at Sobibor have been undertaken since the archaeological work written up in these publications was completed, both by the Gilead-Haimi-Mazurek team and by the director of the Sobibor Museum, Marek Bem.
[100] Dieter Pohl, ‘Massentötungen durch Giftgas  im Rahmen der “Aktion Reinhardt”. Aufgaben der Forschung,’ in Günter Morsch, Bertrand Perz, Astrid Ley (eds), Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas. Historische Bedeutung, technische Entwicklung, revisionistische Leugnung. Berlin: Metropol, 2011, pp.185-195.

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