Eyewitnesses to the Treblinka “Gas Chambers”

Published: 2018-11-16

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      Traditional Holocaust historians state that Treblinka was a pure extermination camp in which approximately 870,000 Jews were murdered. The number of Jewish survivors of Treblinka is generally thought to have been between 40 and 70, and probably closer to the lower figure.[1] This article will examine the credibility of several Jewish survivors of Treblinka.


      Chil Rajchman was a Jewish survivor of Treblinka who was interviewed by the US Office of Special Investigations in 1980. He later traveled to the United States to appear as a witness for the prosecution in the extradition trial of John Demjanjuk. Rajchman also took the witness stand in Jerusalem where Demjanjuk was put on trial for allegedly being a murderous guard at Treblinka.[2] The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Demjanjuk’s guilt had not been proven, and that the eyewitness testimony of Rajchman and four other witnesses failed to identify Demjanjuk credibly.[3]

Rajchman described the gas chambers at Treblinka in his memoirs:

     The Schlauch road is not long. In a few minutes you find yourself in a white structure, on which a Star of David is painted. On the steps of the structure stands a German, who points to the entrance and smiles—Bitte, bitte! The steps lead to a corridor lined with flowers and with long towels hanging on the walls.

       The size of the gas chamber is seven by seven meters. In the middle of the chamber there are shower-heads through which the gas is introduced. On one of the walls a thick pipe serves as an exhaust to remove the air. Thick felt around the doors of the chamber renders them airtight.

      In this building there are some 10 gas chambers. At a short distance from the main structure there is a smaller one with three gas chambers. By the doors stand several Germans who shove people inside. Their hands do not rest for a moment as they scream fiendishly—Faster, faster, keep moving![4]

      Rajchman wrote that exhaust gas from a Diesel engine was piped into the gas chambers.[5] However, Austrian engineer Walter Lüftl and American engineer Friedrich Paul Berg have both documented that exhaust from Diesel engines could not have been used for mass executions at Treblinka. Lüftl concludes in his report that the stories of gas chambers with Diesel engines and gas vans at places such as Treblinka can only be disinformation.[6]

         Berg writes: “However, the story [of mass gassings] becomes even more incredible when one discovers that far better sources of carbon monoxide, better even than gasoline engines, were readily available to the Germans. Those other sources did not require either Diesel fuel or gasoline.”[7]

      Rajchman in his memoirs also reported the following horrific incident:

       It once happened that an oven was brought next to a huge grave, where perhaps a quarter of a million people were buried. As usual the oven was loaded with the proper number of bodies and in the evening it was lit. But a strong wind carried the fire over to the huge grave and engulfed it in flames. The blood of some quarter of a million people began to flare, and thus burned for a night and a day. The whole camp administration came to look upon this marvel, gazing with satisfaction at the blaze. The blood came up to the surface and burned as if it were fuel.[8]

       Since blood consists mostly of water and is nonflammable, Rajchman’s story that blood burned as if it were fuel is totally absurd.[9] 

        Rajchman also reported other instances when the blood from gassed victims rose to the surface: “I remember that every morning when we went out to work, we would notice that the surfaces of the pits had burst in dozens of places. By day the ground was firmly trodden down, but at night the blood pressed up to the surface…The blood of tens of thousands of victims, unable to rest, thrust itself up to the surface.”[10]

         Rajchman’s story that blood “pressed up to the surface” at night but was trodden down during the day is ludicrous. Rajchman’s memoirs about his stay in Treblinka are no more credible than his testimony at the John Demjanjuk trial.   


      Richard Glazar was a Jew sent to Treblinka at the beginning of October 1942. He said he spent 10 months in Treblinka before escaping from the camp.[11] Glazar in his memoirs also stated that exhaust gasses from motors were used in the gas chambers at Treblinka:

      The gas chambers are the only brick buildings in the entire camp. Actually, they comprise two structures. At first was built—somewhat farther from the entrance—a smaller structure with three gas chambers, each about five by five meters. Sometime in the fall of 1942 the second building, containing 10 gas chambers, was completed. This building is located very close to the Pipeline, at the point where it opens into the second part of the camp. There is a hallway running all the way down the middle of the new building. One enters the gas chambers, five on either side, from this hallway. The new gas chambers measure about seven by seven meters. The motor room is built onto the back wall, where the hallway ends. The exhaust gases from the motors are pumped into the gas chambers through conduits in the ceilings of the chambers. These conduits are disguised as showers.[12]

      Glazar made two major errors in his book. First, Glazar wrote that the Germans started to burn the corpses “one overcast November afternoon” in 1942.[13] This statement contradicts the standard Holocaust literature, which claims the incineration of corpses did not start until March/April 1943.[14]                                       

      Second, Glazar said that he was part of a camouflage unit that performed forestry work in the vicinity of Treblinka. Glazar wrote:

      The camouflage unit is the only one of the old work squads that still has enough real work to do…Several times a day…some part of the 25-man unit has to go out into the forest, climb into the trees, harvest large branches, and carry them back into the camp, where they will be used for repairs. The other part of the unit straightens and firms up the posts, tightens the barbed wire, and weaves the new pine boughs into the fence until there are no longer any gaps in the dense green wall.[15]

      Thus, according to Glazar, 25 inmates supplied Treblinka with its greenery for concealment. The “camouflage unit” would have been much larger if wood from the forest had been used to cremate the 870,000 corpses in Treblinka. The camouflage unit would also have chopped down the trees and then cut off the branches rather than engaging in tree-climbing activities. Yet Glazar apparently opines that such tree-felling never occurred during his time at Treblinka. Since historians universally state that there were no crematoria at Treblinka, this rules out the cremation of some 870,000 corpses using firewood.[16]     

      Air-photo evidence also indicates that the massive deforestation necessary to cremate 870,000 bodies never took place around Treblinka. Thomas Kues writes:

      By comparing a detailed 1936 map of the Treblinka area with air photos taken by the Luftwaffe in May and November 1944 we are able to estimate the scope of contemporary deforestation in the area. If 870,000 bodies had really been burned at Treblinka, then the procurement of the required fuel would have denuded the entire wooded area north of the camp site. The air photos show that this is clearly not the case. Rather, the visible possibly deforested areas—amounting to less than 10 hectares—indicate the cremation of at most some ten thousands of bodies.[17

      The argument that only a fraction of the corpses were burned is not valid, since the Soviet and Polish forensic examinations of Treblinka would have discovered hundreds of thousands of corpses. The Allies would have shown these corpses to the world as proof of German genocide.

      The only remaining conclusion is that most Jews at Treblinka were sent somewhere else, most likely to German-occupied Soviet territory. Richard Glazar’s memoirs inadvertently confirmed the revisionist thesis that Treblinka was a transit camp.[18]    


      Jankiel Wiernik escaped from Treblinka and published a document in May 1944 describing his experiences at Treblinka. Wiernik wrote:

      A Jew had been selected by the Germans to function as a supposed “bath attendant.” He stood at the entrance of the building housing the chambers and urged everyone to hurry inside before the water got cold. What irony! Amidst shouts and blows, the people were chased into the chambers.

     As I have already indicated, there was not much space in the gas chambers. People were smothered simply by overcrowding. The motor which generated the gas in the new chambers was defective, and so the helpless victims had to suffer for hours on end before they died. Satan himself could not have devised a more fiendish torture. When the chambers were opened again, many of the victims were only half dead and had to be finished off with rifle butts, bullets or powerful kicks.

      Often people were kept in the gas chambers overnight with the motor not turned on at all. Overcrowding and lack of air killed many of them in a very painful way. However, many survived the ordeal of such nights; particularly the children showed a remarkable degree of resistance. They were still alive when they were dragged out of the chambers in the morning, but revolvers used by the Germans made short work of them…[19] 

      So according to Wiernik, the gas chambers at Treblinka were not very efficient. Many victims suffocated or had to be killed with bullets, rifle butts or powerful kicks.

      Jankiel Wiernik wrote: “Between 10,000 and 12,000 people were gassed each day.”[20] Wiernik also wrote: “The number of transports grew daily, and there were periods when as many as 30,000 people were gassed in one day…”[21] This is an incredibly large number of people killed by a defective motor that took “hours on end” to kill the victims and which was frequently left off overnight.

      Wiernik also wrote that handsome Bulgarian Jews were discriminated against: “These handsome Jews were not permitted an easy death. Only small quantities of gas were let into the chambers, so that their agony lasted through the night.”[22] This would have made the gassing process at Treblinka even more inefficient. I wonder how 870,000 Jews could have been killed by such inefficient methods.

       Wiernik described the corpses of the alleged gassing victims: “All were equal. There was no longer any beauty or ugliness, for they were all yellow from the gas.”[23] Actually, victims of carbon-monoxide poisoning exhibit a cherry-red or rosy red coloring.[24] Wiernik’s statement that the victims were “all yellow from the gas” is obviously false.

      Wiernik wrote in regard to the cremation of corpses: “It turned out that bodies of women burned more easily than those of men. Accordingly, the bodies of women were used for kindling the fires…When corpses of pregnant women were cremated, their bellies would burst open. The fetus would be exposed and could be seen burning inside the mother’s womb.”[25] The absurdities promulgated by Wiernik are really beyond description, yet he is probably the most prominent witness to the alleged gassings at Treblinka.[26]                        


      Abraham Goldfarb arrived in Treblinka on August 25, 1942, and escaped from Treblinka during the revolt in 1943.[27] Goldfarb described the gassings at Treblinka:

      On the way to the gas chambers Germans with dogs stood along the fence on both sides. The dogs had been trained to attack people; they bit the men’s genitals and the women’s breasts, ripping off pieces of flesh. The Germans hit the people with whips and iron bars to spur them on, so that they would press forward into the “showers” as quickly as possible. The screams of the women could be heard far away, even in the other parts of the camp. The Germans drove the running victims on with shouts of “Faster, faster, the water is getting cold, and others still have to take a shower!” To escape from the blows, the victims ran to the gas chambers as quickly as they could, the stronger ones pushing the weaker ones aside. At the entrance to the gas chambers stood the two Ukrainians, Ivan Demjaniuk and Nikolai, one of them armed with an iron bar, the other with a sword. Even they drove the people inside with blows…

       As soon as the gas chambers were full, the Ukrainians closed the doors and started the engine. Some 20 to 25 minutes later an SS man or a Ukrainian looked through a window in the door. When he had made sure that everyone had been asphyxiated, the Jewish prisoners had to open the doors and remove the corpses. Because the chambers were overcrowded and the victims had held onto one another, they were all standing upright and were like one single mass of flesh.[28]

      Goldfarb stated that dogs at Treblinka attacked the men’s genitals and the women’s breasts while the victims ran to the gas chambers. I wonder why the other survivors didn't report these vicious dog attacks of the gassing victims. Goldfarb’s story is highly suspect.

     Goldfarb’s statement that the victims “were all standing upright and were like one single mass of flesh” is also not credible. Many of the dead victims would have fallen to the floor no matter how crowded the gas chambers. The dead victims would not have been “like one single mass of flesh.” 


      No documentary or credible material trace exists of the alleged gas chambers at Treblinka. We would know nothing about the Treblinka gas chambers except for the testimony of a small number of eyewitnesses. 

      A November 15, 1942 report produced by the resistance movement of the Warsaw ghetto originally stated that steam chambers were used to kill Jews at Treblinka. In 1944, Jankiel Wiernik converted the embarrassing “steam chambers,” which characterized the first phase of the Treblinka atrocity propaganda, into “gas chambers.” Official historiography now considers the gas chambers of Treblinka as established historical fact.[29]

      However, as discussed in this article, the eyewitness testimony of the Treblinka gas chambers is not credible. Such testimony cannot be used to prove that Germany mass murdered Jews at Treblinka. Germar Rudolf writes:

      Thus, if 100 witnesses and 100 confessions state that the moon is made of green cheese or that 870,000 corpses can be burned within a few months without fuel and without leaving traces, both assertions being of a similar intellectual quality, then we have to conclude—in light of all the forensic evidence—that the witnesses and the defendants are wrong. Like it or not![30]             


[1] Willenberg, Samuel, Surviving Treblinka, New York: Basil Blackwell Inc., 1989, p. 2.

[2] Kues, Thomas. “Chil Rajchman and His Memoirs.” Inconvenient History, Vol.2, No. 1, Spring 2010. https://inconvenienthistory.com/2/1/1916.

[3] An excellent account of John Demjanjuk’s trial is provided in Sheftel, Yoram, Defending “Ivan the Terrible”: The Conspiracy to Convict John Demjanjuk, Washington, D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1996.

[4] Rajchman, Chil, The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory 1942-1943, New York: Pegasus Books, 2011, pp. 11-12.

[5] Ibid., p. 58.

[6] Lüftl, Walter, “The Lüftl Report,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter 1992-1993, pp. 391-406. 

[7] Berg, Friedrich Paul, “The Diesel Gas Chamber: Ideal for Torture—Absurd for Murder,” in Gauss, Ernst (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust: The Growing Critique of Truth and Memory, Capshaw, Ala.: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2000, p. 456.

[8] Rajchman, Chil, The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory 1942-1943, New York: Pegasus Books, 2011, pp. 91-92.

[9] https://inconvenienthistory.com/2/1/1916.

[10] Ibid., p. 79.        

[11] Glazar, Richard, Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in Treblinka, Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1995, p. VIII.

[12] Ibid., p. 37.

[13] Ibid., p. 29.

[14] Mattogno, Carlo and Graf, Jürgen, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Washington, D.C., The Barnes Review, 2010, p. 39.

[15] Glazar, Richard, Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in Treblinka: Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1995, pp. 127-128.

[16] Mattogno, Carlo and Graf, Jürgen, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Washington, D.C., The Barnes Review, 2010, pp. 39-40.

[17] https://inconvenienthistory.com/1/2/1912.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Donat, Alexander (editor), The Death Camp Treblinka: A Documentary, New York: Holocaust Library, 1979, pp. 163-164.

[20] Ibid., p. 159.

[21] Ibid., p. 164.

[22] Ibid., p. 172.

[23] Ibid., p. 159.

[24] Mattogno, Carlo and Graf, Jürgen, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Washington, D.C., The Barnes Review, 2010, p. 73.

[25] Donat, Alexander (editor), The Death Camp Treblinka: A Documentary, New York: Holocaust Library, 1979, p. 170.

[26] Mattogno, Carlo and Graf, Jürgen, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Washington, D.C., The Barnes Review, 2010, p. 154.

[27] http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/treblinka/treblinkarememberme.html.

[28] Kogon, Eugen, Langbein, Hermann, and Rückerl, Adalbert (editors), Nazi Mass Murder: A Documentary History of the Use of Poison Gas, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 126-127.

[29] Mattogno, Carlo and Graf, Jürgen, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Washington, D.C., The Barnes Review, 2010, pp. 51-62, 299.

[30] Ibid., p. 307.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): John Wear
Title: Eyewitnesses to the Treblinka “Gas Chambers”
Sources: Inconvenient History, Vol. 10, No. 3 (2018)
Published: 2018-11-16
First posted on CODOH: Nov. 16, 2018, 12:19 p.m.
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