Excavators at Treblinka

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giles120
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Excavators at Treblinka

Post by giles120 » 06 May 2004 13:56

The only photos of death camp excavators were taken by Treblinka camp kommandant Kurt Franz. According to the Franz photo album, the SS used cable excavators in Treblinka(Menck & Hambrock type Ma).

Can anyone confirm that excavators were used in Belzec and Sobibor for the digging of burial pits?

Thanks.

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Post by xcalibur » 06 May 2004 16:57

Rudolf Reder testified in 1945 that he operated an excavator in Belzec.

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Post by giles120 » 07 May 2004 09:31

Thanks Xcalibur. Looking a bit further I found that in September 1942, a request to purchase two bucket excavators from a company in Holland was made by Odilo Globocnik to Untersturmführer Hans Offermann. These two excavators may have been destined for Belzec.

Also, Kurt Fran'z photo album of Treblinka "Schöne Zeiten" translates as Pleasant Times. Not really the words I would associate with Treblinka. Was he being sarcastic!!!

Thanks.

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Post by chalutzim » 07 May 2004 17:40

giles120 wrote:(...) Also, Kurt Fran'z photo album of Treblinka "Schöne Zeiten" translates as Pleasant Times. Not really the words I would associate with Treblinka. Was he being sarcastic!!!

Thanks.


Giles, I believe that for a sadist those times were really "schöne".

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Post by michael mills » 09 May 2004 00:15

Rudolf Reder testified in 1945 that he operated an excavator in Belzec.


Actually, he claimed that as a mechanic he serviced an excavator operating outside the camp at Belzec.

He stated that the excavator he serviced was digging ditches, but he did not specify that the ditches were graves. It is most likely that the operation he was referring to was the construction of the huge anti-tank ditch in the period before the invasion of the Soviet Union; the village of belzec was situated right on the demarcation line between the German and Soviet zones of occupation.

The Belzec camp was situated immediately adjacent to the anti-tank ditch, and probably originally housed forced labourers working on the construction.

Once the invasion of the Soviet Union commenced, work on the anti-tank ditch was discontinued and the camp abandoned. Refurbishment of the camp began later in 1941, perhaps initially as a transit camp; it was converted into a killing centre in March 1942. There is a possibility that the anti-tank ditch, which of course was still there, was used for disposing of the bodies; that at least is what emerges from Eichmann's post-war testimony.

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Post by Earldor » 09 May 2004 18:41

It is most likely that the operation he was referring to was the construction of the huge anti-tank ditch in the period before the invasion of the Soviet Union; the village of belzec was situated right on the demarcation line between the German and Soviet zones of occupation.


Again this unsubstantiated claim. Please, provide your evidence that Reder wasn't incarcerated in the Belzec death camp. As I recall, he was transported to Belzec in mid-August 1942. As you very well know, there was no transit camp or labor camp in Belzec at this time. Only the death camp, of which we have ample evidence both from the perpetrator's and victim's side.

Do you have any evidence to back up your claim? [Font size reduced to comply with forum customs and insulting personal challenge removed by moderator -- DT]

The Belzec camp was situated immediately adjacent to the anti-tank ditch, and probably originally housed forced labourers working on the construction.


The Belzec labor camp has little to do with the death camp.

http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/belzecoverview.html
http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/labourcamps.html
http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/belzec.html

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Post by michael mills » 10 May 2004 00:26

In his post-war evidence, Reder states that the excavator that he serviced (ie which he repaired as necessary, but did not operate) was used for digging trenches outside the Belzec camp.

Since the accounts of Belzec state that the mass graves were situated inside the camp, and the graves that have been located by recent archaeological examination are all situated within what is believed to be the original perimeter of the camp, the trenches being dug by the excavator referred to by Reder cannot have been the mass graves.

The only other excavation work in the vicinity of the Belzec camp that I know of was the construction of the anti-tank ditch, which is situated right next to the camp (it is shown in maps of the camp).

If Reder was servicing an excavator used in the construction of the anti-tank ditch, then he must have been in the Belzec camp at the time when the ditch was being constructed, ie before the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

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Post by michael mills » 10 May 2004 00:38

Further to my previous message, I personally doubt that Rudolf Reder was taken to Belzec for the purpose of extermination, at the time when the camp was operating as a kiing centre (March-November 1942).

His account of how he managed to survive is less than credible.


However, I am not wanting to fight that particular battle here.

My intervention on this thread was to correct the mistaken statement that Reder operated an excavator digging mass graves within the camp.

He does not say that in his post-war testimony. In his testimony he says two things:

1. The excavator was in operation outside the camp.

2. He was employed as a mechanic to service it.

When that period of employment occurred he does not say, but it is unlikely to have been in 1942. As for what happened to him in 1942, we have only his own account of being sent to Belzec extermination camp in August 1942 and of escaping from it some months later; there is no independent corroboration of his account, particularly of his dramatic escape.

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Post by Earldor » 10 May 2004 16:58

michael mills wrote:Further to my previous message, I personally doubt that Rudolf Reder was taken to Belzec for the purpose of extermination, at the time when the camp was operating as a kiing centre (March-November 1942).


That view is based on biased and selective reading of the evidence. Reder is entirely reliable in his depiction of events. His observations and facts are corroborated by further evidence.

I asked for evidence and you haven't provided it. Do you have any evidence to the effect that mechanical excavators were used in the construction of the Otto Line, especially in the Belzec area?

On excavators:
http://www.deathcamps.org/treblinka/excavators.html
http://www.holocaust-history.org/Trebli ... mpp6.shtml

His account of how he managed to survive is less than credible.


And you should know that this kind of assertion is worthless without further proof.

However, I am not wanting to fight that particular battle here.


Feel free to open a new thread/discussion on the matter but remember the burden of proof is on your side.

My intervention on this thread was to correct the mistaken statement that Reder operated an excavator digging mass graves within the camp.


But you haven't done that. You have simply stated your own biased belief and provided no proof to back it up. Assertion doesn't make it so.

He does not say that in his post-war testimony. In his testimony he says two things:

1. The excavator was in operation outside the camp.


Please give the quote in context. Does Reder mean outside the death camp (Lager II), outside the Belzec death camp proper or what?

You can find a map of the site here: http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/pic/bmap19.jpg

When that period of employment occurred he does not say, but it is unlikely to have been in 1942. As for what happened to him in 1942, we have only his own account of being sent to Belzec extermination camp in August 1942 and of escaping from it some months later; there is no independent corroboration of his account, particularly of his dramatic escape.


Again, you're using a double standard to bolster your assertion. You trust Reder's account where it meets (supposedly) your distorted views and reject it where it doesn't.

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Post by xcalibur » 10 May 2004 19:50

michael mills wrote:In his post-war evidence, Reder states that the excavator that he serviced (ie which he repaired as necessary, but did not operate) was used for digging trenches outside the Belzec camp.

Since the accounts of Belzec state that the mass graves were situated inside the camp, and the graves that have been located by recent archaeological examination are all situated within what is believed to be the original perimeter of the camp, the trenches being dug by the excavator referred to by Reder cannot have been the mass graves.

The only other excavation work in the vicinity of the Belzec camp that I know of was the construction of the anti-tank ditch, which is situated right next to the camp (it is shown in maps of the camp).

If Reder was servicing an excavator used in the construction of the anti-tank ditch, then he must have been in the Belzec camp at the time when the ditch was being constructed, ie before the German invasion of the Soviet Union.


Reder, as quoted in Shermer and Grobman, Denying History:

"I operated a machine which dug the earth out of pits which served as graves for those gassed."

"On August 17, 1942 I as deported to the Belzec extermination camp."

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Post by michael mills » 11 May 2004 04:34

Here is what Reder says in a German translation of his testimony:


Mir als Maschinisten trug er auf, den Benzinmotor eines Baggers, mit dem in der unmittelbaren Naehe des Lagers riesige Gruben ausgehoben wurden, zu bedienen. In diesem Charakter arbeitete ich 2 Monate lang. Weitere 2 Monate, das heisst bis Ende November, arbeitete ich als Maurer beim Ausbau der Lagerkueche.

My translation:

He [= Lagerleuter SS-Stabsscharführer Irrmann] gave me as a mechanic the task of servicing the petrol engine of an excavator with which gigantic ditches were being dug in the immediate vicinity of the camp [my emphasis]. I worked for two months in that capacity. For a further two months, that is until the end of November, I worked as a bricklayer on the construction of the camp kitchen.


Source: Document 164 (c) “Vernehmungen über das Vernichtungslager Belzec: Rudolf Reder, Ueberlebender des Lagers, 29.12.1945”, in the book by Peter Longerich “Die Ermordung der Europäischen Juden” (pp. 362-7).

In other works, the gigantic ditches were next to the camp, not inside it. That description fits the anti-tank ditch, which is right next to the camp, between it and Belzec railway station.

Perhaps Xcalibur will be so kind as to give us the source of his quote, ie not just a book by Sherman, but where Sherman got it from.

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Post by xcalibur » 11 May 2004 05:01

I will do my endeavorest, Mills.

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Post by Earldor » 11 May 2004 10:28

michael mills wrote:Here is what Reder says in a German translation of his testimony:
"He [= Lagerleuter SS-Stabsscharführer Irrmann] gave me as a mechanic the task of servicing the petrol engine of an excavator with which gigantic ditches were being dug in the immediate vicinity of the camp [my emphasis]. I worked for two months in that capacity. For a further two months, that is until the end of November, I worked as a bricklayer on the construction of the camp kitchen."

Source: Document 164 (c) “Vernehmungen über das Vernichtungslager Belzec: Rudolf Reder, Ueberlebender des Lagers, 29.12.1945”, in the book by Peter Longerich “Die Ermordung der Europäischen Juden” (pp. 362-7).


A bit more context, please. This quote doesn't clarify what Reder is referring to when he says "in the immediate vicinity of the camp".

Some info on the excavations in Belzec: http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/belzec/bel002.html

You should also endeavour to find the original version (Polish?), if you wish to bicker and extrapolate on the correct translation of the passage and whether Reder was in Belzec extermination camp or the labor camps in the area two years earlier.

In other works, the gigantic ditches were next to the camp, not inside it. That description fits the anti-tank ditch, which is right next to the camp, between it and Belzec railway station.


And in addition to all the other questions I asked, how do you explain the reference to Irrmann/Jirmann? (http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/perpetrators.html)

The quote in Shermer is from M. Tregenza's "Analysis of Majdanek Gas Chambers and Transcript of Sworn Affidavit from Rudolf Reder" (Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, Ludwigsburg, 1945, GFR. File No. 208 AR-Z 252/59)

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Post by xcalibur » 11 May 2004 13:28

Earldor wrote:
michael mills wrote:Here is what Reder says in a German translation of his testimony:
"He [= Lagerleuter SS-Stabsscharführer Irrmann] gave me as a mechanic the task of servicing the petrol engine of an excavator with which gigantic ditches were being dug in the immediate vicinity of the camp [my emphasis]. I worked for two months in that capacity. For a further two months, that is until the end of November, I worked as a bricklayer on the construction of the camp kitchen."

Source: Document 164 (c) “Vernehmungen über das Vernichtungslager Belzec: Rudolf Reder, Ueberlebender des Lagers, 29.12.1945”, in the book by Peter Longerich “Die Ermordung der Europäischen Juden” (pp. 362-7).


A bit more context, please. This quote doesn't clarify what Reder is referring to when he says "in the immediate vicinity of the camp".

Some info on the excavations in Belzec: http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/belzec/bel002.html

You should also endeavour to find the original version (Polish?), if you wish to bicker and extrapolate on the correct translation of the passage and whether Reder was in Belzec extermination camp or the labor camps in the area two years earlier.

In other works, the gigantic ditches were next to the camp, not inside it. That description fits the anti-tank ditch, which is right next to the camp, between it and Belzec railway station.


And in addition to all the other questions I asked, how do you explain the reference to Irrmann/Jirmann? (http://www.deathcamps.org/belzec/perpetrators.html)

The quote in Shermer is from M. Tregenza's "Analysis of Majdanek Gas Chambers and Transcript of Sworn Affidavit from Rudolf Reder" (Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, Ludwigsburg, 1945, GFR. File No. 208 AR-Z 252/59)


Thanks Earldor, that is the source.

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Post by michael mills » 11 May 2004 13:58

"In the immediate vicinity of the camp" obviously does not mean "inside the camp".

It indicates that the gigantic ditches were being dug next to the camp, not in it.

Furthermore, Reder does not say, in his testimony of 29 December 1945, that the gigantic ditches were dug for the purpose of burying bodies. He merely says that the ditches were being dug by the excavator to which he was supplying mechanical services. You would think that if those ditches were mass-graves he would have mentioned that fact specifically.

Perhaps Earldor and/or Xcalibur can tell us the date of the testimony that they are quoting.

I would give greater credence to a document published by the historian Longerich than to something briefly mentioned by the publicist Sherman.

It seems to me that Reder, in his original testimony, simply said that he was employed as a mechanic to service the engine of an excavator that was digging ditches next to the camp. Then he dramatised his testimony, claiming that he himself operated the excavator, and that it was digging mass-graves. As the recent archaeological examinations have shown, the identified graves are within the camp perimeter, not in the immediate vicinty of the camp.

I note that Earldor asks me for a bit more context for the extract that I have quoted from Reder's testimony of 29 December 1945, but does not make the same demand in respect of the very brief snippet from Sherman's book quoted by Xcalibur. Why am I not surprised?

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