On 9 October 1945, in Łódź, Judge Z. Łukaszkiewicz, with the participation of Prosecutor J. Maciejewski, interviewed the person specified below as a witness, without swearing him in. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Forename and surname||Reizman Samuel|
|Names of parents||Jankiel|
|Place of residence||Łódź, Żeromskiego Street 31|
On 27 September 1942, I was loaded into a transport that was leaving from Warsaw, from the so-called Toebbens factory, where I worked as a bookkeeper. Some 60 wagons were loaded up then, each consisting of about 120 people. On 28 September at 5 a.m. the train arrived at the Treblinka railway station, where 20 wagons were separated (I was in the first group) and moved onto the camp ramp.
When the doors of the wagons were opened, Germans and Ukrainians (there were two Ukrainians and one German for each wagon), holding whips, started to throw everybody out as quickly as possible, amid horrible screams. There was already quite a lot of corpses in the wagons (twelve in mine). We were driven through a gate into a courtyard, where there were long huts on both sides. The men were ordered to move to the right, while the women and children to the left.
Immediately after being separated we were ordered to strip naked (the women also had to undress in the courtyard). At the same time, it was announced that everybody had to have a bath, after which we would receive new clothes and get our papers back, which we had been ordered to hand over for the time being together with our money and valuables. The undressing in the courtyard lasted five minutes at most. When they undressed, naked women were sent to the left hut, where the barbers were working. After they had been shaved, the women walked directly from the hut onto the pathway leading to the gas chambers, where there were Ukrainians and Germans whipping them on.
When the women were being shaved, the men piled the clothes up in the courtyard behind the right hut. As soon as this work was over, during which the men were constantly beaten by Ukrainians and Germans, they were also sent onto the pathway leading to the gas chambers.
I survived in the following way. When I undressed, I was spotted by the engineer Galewski from Warsaw, whom I had known for a long time, and who held the position of the most senior Jewish laborer (Lageraltests) in the camp. At that time, I had already been standing in a line that was to be sent onto the pathway running to the gas chambers. Galewski came up to me and told me to move back. Paying no heed to the beating from the Ukrainians I moved back, and then Galewski, accompanied by the Scharführer Post, came up to me and said that he needed me for labor. Post examined me, assessed my physical strength and allowed me to get dressed. I could not find my own clothes so I put on the first garments I saw and I set about carrying clothes.
I started talking to Galewski during a lunch break, asking him why he had saved me, to which he replied that I should not delude myself that I would stay alive; he saved me because I was needed to set up an underground organization whose aim was to organize an uprising.
I was then assigned to the sorting of the clothes and possessions of the victims and I worked in this capacity almost until the end.
Simultaneously, I was used by the Germans as a translator, translating from Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, Polish and French into German. Aa a result of my work in this capacity I know that a lot of eminent French and English scholars were killed in this camp.
Among the papers I came across diplomas from the Sorbonne and Cambridge University. After I had translated them, I returned the papers to the German administrative office, but I do not know what happened to them later.
I also know that there were in the camp huge numbers of shares issued by English and French companies, since I translated them many times.
The Jewish laborers used in the camp were divided into several groups: the blue group, consisting of between 30 and 50 people, was used to clear the transport wagons. It had to be completed at such a pace that another transport could be brought within 40 minutes after the arrival of the first one, and the victims were not supposed to be aware where they were being transported. The red group, consisting of the same number of people, was working in the courtyard, undressing the people who did not want to disrobe on their own and clearing the courtyard.
The largest group was responsible for sorting clothes and possessions and for loading them into wagons. There was a special group, so-called Goldjuden, i.e. the laborers who were responsible for taking, sorting and packing up money and valuables. One part of this group worked in the undressing courtyard, where they collected money and valuables. The other part worked in the so-called cashier’s room, where the sorting was done. There was a bank official from Warsaw working in that group called Aleksander, who reported to our underground organization on the amount of gold and money that passed through his hands.
These reports as well as the notes describing the organization and number of transports are partly in my possession; however, I do not have the complete set in Łódź now; I will be able to deliver them, though.
There was also a group of the so-called Holzsager, who were responsible for sawing and chopping wood, and the Tarnunggruppe, who was a group responsible for repairing the fence and covering it with branches. Another large group consisted of craftsmen and skilled laborers working in the workshops.
The laborers got up at 6 a.m. and worked until dusk, and sometimes even during the night. The food they received consisted of a mug of coffee and 20 decagrams of bread in the morning, unpeeled potato soup, sometimes with a few small dumplings, at lunchtime, and coffee alone in the evening. Laborers were treated with cruelty.
When a cigarette or money was found on a laborer, he was whipped between 20 and 50 times, and often killed, depending on the mood of the SS-man or Ukrainian. The number of the laborers I discussed above was generally between 500 and 800 people. During my stay, several dozen thousand people worked in that group (with their number being constantly replenished by newcomers from new transports), of which at least 25,000 were killed or died from exhaustion.
Generally, the camp was divided into two parts. In the first part, there were a ramp, storehouses, the huts of the personnel [and] laborers; in the other part, there were gas chambers, pits and cremation pits. Any contacts between the laborers working in each part were prohibited.
From the time of my arrival until about the middle of December 1942 there were three transports arriving daily on average, each usually consisting of 60 wagons, with each wagon containing 100 people on average. From the middle of December until the middle of January there were very few transports (perhaps one transport a week) because at that time the Germans were on vacation; the break was also needed to load and send victims’ possessions that had been collected in the camp, which was done by laborers day and night.
In March or at the beginning of April 1943 transports of Jews from Bulgaria and Greece, which consisted of approximately 40,000 people, arrived. Next, there were a few transports from the Warsaw Ghetto, with the last transport from the Ghetto, a small one, arriving in the middle of May 1943.
At first, only Jews from the General Government were brought; later, there were transports from Vienna, Czechoslovakia and Germany, and then from the eastern regions (Ostgebiete); next, as I mentioned above, there were transports from Greece and Bulgaria.
The possessions of the Jews who were exterminated in the camp were consistently sorted and they were fully used by the Germans. To this end, they established different specializations, for example, for about three months I sorted only spectacles. At that time, a really huge number of spectacles passed through my hands.
I also remember a characteristic incident concerning women’s brooches. Initially, the brooches (I mean the ones that were not made of noble metals) were sent to Germany. At one point, an order was issued to remove gems, which were usually artificial, and it was the remaining material (brass, bronze) that was loaded and sent to Germany. In this way, with brooches alone, they sent several hundred kilograms of raw material.
As for clothes, as I mentioned above, between the middle of December and the middle of January, they were sent to Germany in large numbers, at least one transport every day. Gold and money were put in suitcases and transported to Lublin in vehicles.
I am convinced that Himmler inspected the camp in February 1943; he arrived by air and landed near the camp.
I also think that the camp was inspected by the Governor Frank in March 1943. SS generals carried out regular inspections and were shown the entire camp and the manner in which it operated.
I also know that there were Wehrmacht officers from Małkinia visiting the camp, coming for receptions given by the SS-men.
On 2 August 1943 we staged an uprising, which was completely successful and caused the destruction of the camp.
The people who took part in the uprising established their own association in Łódź recently; this is why I know that the listed witnesses: the Ciechanowieckis, Rozental, Goldberg, Jakub and Bronia Miller, Blacharski and Sznajdman are not in Łódź; they left in an unknown direction.
As for the names of the Germans who were the camp personnel, the list of their names can be compiled to the best of our knowledge in a meeting held by the participants of the uprising.
The witness interview report was read out to the witness and he confirmed it by signing it on each page.