Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Court Proceedings Extracts & Interrogations
Former Trawniki SS and Ukrainian Civilians
serving in the Treblinka Death Camp
20 –31 March 1962
There was an attached shed near the gas chambers located in which were the motors which produced the exhaust gas used to kill the people.
The WachmanMarchenko and Shalayev turned on these motors.
26 May 1950
The people screamed, beat at the door, attempted to break out, and here Shaleyev and Marchenko turned on the diesel and fed the exhaust gas from it into the gas chamber.
After about 15 minutes the people in the gas chamber would die. Special crews took the dead to oven-pits, dropped corpses into the pits and again prepared for receiving the next group
Ananiy Grigoryevich Kuzminsky
20 March 1965
After Robertus’ throat was cut, he escaped and to the place of the incident came running the motorist of the “dushehubka” – gas chamber Marchenko other Wachman and Germans and they executed by firing squad here by the excavator the whole working detachment brigade.
There were executed about 10-15 men in all. They were executed on the orders of Franz. I, Marchenko, Levchishin and several other Wachman whose names I do not now recall and the Zugwachman Schultz took part in the execution.
Nikolay Yegorovich Shalayev
18 December 1950
I together with Ivan Marchenko, two Germans and two Jews, was at the motor which produced the exhaust gas which was fed into the chambers of the gas chambers.
Aleksander Ivanovich Yeger
16 April 1948
I met Ivan Marchenko in August 1942 in the Treblinka death camp, where he served as a guard in a guard company. He viciously beat and shot persons of Jewish nationality. At the end of 1943 after the destruction of the Treblinka death camp he left for Italy along with the commander of the camp.
I never saw him after that and I do not know where he is now.
Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko
21 February 1945
When the procession of the condemned approached the gas chambers(dushehubky), the “motorists” of the gas chambers Marchenko and Nikolay would shout “ Go quickly or the water will get cold”.
Each group of women or men were hurried along from the rear by some Germans and very often the Commandant himself – Franz accompanied by a dog.
As they approached the gas chamber the people began to back away in terror. Oftentimes they tried to turn back – at that point lashes and clubs were used. Franz immediately set upon the condemned his dog which was specially trained to snap at their sex organs.
At each gas chamber there were 5-6 Germans besides the motorists with their dogs. With clubs and lashes they drove the people into the corridor of the gas chamber and then into the chambers.
In this the Germans would compete with the “motorists” in brutality towards the people selected to die. Marchenko for instance, had a sword with which he mutilated the people. He cut off the breasts of women.
After the chambers were filled they were slammed shut with hermetically sealed doors. The “ motorists” Marchenko and Nikolay would turn on the motors. Through pipes, exhaust gas was fed into the chambers.
The process of asphyxiation began. Some time after starting the motor, the motorists would look into the chambers through special observation slits along side each door, to see how the killing process was going.
When questioned what they saw there, the “motorists” answered that the people are writhing, twisting one another. I also tried to look in through the little window into the chamber, but somehow I did not succeed in seeing anything.
Gradually the noise in the chambers subsided. After about fifteen minutes the motors were turned off, an unusual calm set in.
Aleksandra Teryentyevna Kirpa
18 April 1951
On 10 February 1943 I was forcefully sent to Germany.
During the period from 23 February until September 1943 we stayed in the camp in the town of Treblinka in Poland.
In this camp the Germans conducted mass killings of people. With what methods the Germans killed the people I do not know, but from the words Marchenko, Ivan , Ivanovich identified by me, I know in the camp there was a stationary gas “dushehubka”.
Besides that I myself saw the glow of a fire and smoke from bonfires over the camp around the clock and the smoke, and there was a strong smell of burning bodies.
In this camp I worked as a maid cleaning the quarters of the German soldiers who guarded the camp. The camp was divided into two parts in one part was located the guards and service personnel – including me.
In the second part were kept the prisoners and the mass killing of people took place. We service personnel were not allowed into the second part of the camp.
In the camp there was a detachment of “SS” 120 strong consisting of Ukrainians and Russians. This detachment guarded the camp and conducted the killing of people.
The man identified by me as Ivan Ivanovich Marchenko served in the “SS” detachment. He wore the black uniform of the German “ SS” forces and was armed with a pistol – on the shoulder –strap he wore one or two (I do not recall exactly) white stripes and had the rank of “Oberwachman” or “Gruppenwachman” .
Marchenko personally told me and my girl friends in the camp that he worked as a “machinist” in the gas “ dushehubka” he worked 24 hour periods, i.e. worked for 24 hours and was off duty 24 hours.
During his free time Marchenko was usually drunk.
Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko
20 February 1945
The death camp was located on an area of about 7-8 hectares, which was fenced in by two rows of barbed wire reaching 3 meters in height. Beyond the barbed wire stretched a continuous line of metallic anti-tank obstacles enmeshed in barbed wire.
The entire area of the camp in the shape of an irregular quadrangle, was divided into three sections by rows of barbed wire. The barbed wire was intertwined with bushes and branches in order to prevent the possibility of seeing from one section into the other.
After the barrack had been camouflaged into a railroad station, the people brought to the death camp did not suspect the horrors closing in on them.
Two more barracks stood about 70 – 100 meters from the above mentioned two barracks situated by the railroad branch and serving as storage space for belongings and clothing of the doomed prisoners.
One of these two barracks served as an undressing place for the women. The men were undressed near the other barrack, right there on the street, winter and summer. The food, belongings and clothing taken from the doomed prisoners were stored inside the second barrack.
Inside the women’s undressing room there was also a so-called “cashiers office” where the women were ordered to hand over their money, jewellery, and valuables for “safekeeping”.
Beyond the “cashiers office” booth was a fenced in area where the hair of the women was cut. Men handed over their valuables and money also in a special “cashiers office” situated not far from the second barrack. Both barracks were fenced in by barbed wire.
A road led from the undressing rooms the third section of the “death camp” and terminated at the building where the extermination of people took place.
Flowers grew right by in long boxes. There was no door at the entrance. Instead of it there was a heavy hanging made from a rug. Beyond it started a narrow passage which ended at the opposite wall. To the right and to the left of the passage there were five doors that closed hermetically and led into the special chambers where the poisoning took place.
The chambers were about six meters long and as wide, about two and a half to three meters high. In the centre of the ceiling there was an electric light bulb in which there was no wiring and there were two “shower” heads through which poisonous gas was fed into the chamber.
The walls, floor and ceiling were of cement. On the opposite side to the entrance door there was another, likewise hermetically closing door, through which the bodies of the poisoned people were removed.
As many as 500 men, women and children were pushed into the chambers indiscriminately. Eight chambers out of the ten existing in the gas chamber building were used to poison people. – See note below
In the two remaining ones, there were two powerful German engines, about 1.5 meters high- two engines in all. Each engine fed gas to four gas chambers. Some 20 meters from the above mentioned gas chamber building stood the building of the old gas chambers, which contained only three chambers.
This building functioned until 1943. But as it was unable to handle the enormous number of people brought by the Germans to the “death camp”, the new, large gas chamber building that I have described above was built.
After it came into use, the old one was no longer utilised. An incinerator from the burning of bodies was situated about 10 meters beyond the large gas chamber building.
It had the shape of a cement pit about one meter deep and 20 meters long. A series of furnaces covered on the top with four rows of rails extended along the entire length of one of the walls of the pit.
The bodies were laid on the rails, caught fire from the flames burning in the furnaces and burned. About 1000 bodies were burned simultaneously. The burning process lasted up to five hours. Not far from the gas chamber building, also in the third section, there was a barrack housing the working crew composed of doomed prisoners and which comprised up to 500 prisoners.
The number of gas chambers in the new gas chamber building has been quoted as a different figure in a number of testimonies, which cast some doubt on the statement from Leleko.
The Nizkor Project
Holocaust Historical Society
Copyright SJ H.E.A.R.T 2007