On 7 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||Stanisław Kon|
|Names of parents||Dawida|
|Place of residence||Łódź, Gdańska Street 101|
|Occupation||civil engineering technician|
On 1 October 1942, I arrived at Treblinka in a transport from Częstochowa. Some 60 wagons, each containing from 100 to 110 people, arrived at that time. They moved wagons onto the ramp in groups of twenty. The unloading was accompanied by beating and shouting by Ukrainians and Germans, and it often happened that the people who resisted or did not leave the wagons fast enough were killed on the ramp itself. In the wagons were also the corpses of those who, on the way, had perished of thirst, starvation or simply suffocated due to lack of fresh air.
Immediately after the unloading was finished, everybody was sent through a gate into a courtyard, where the men were separated from the women and children. Women were sent to the left, to a hut in which they undressed and where barbers shaved their heads. At the same time, the men stripped naked in the courtyard. All the time, people were made to believe that they were going to a bath house and that after that they would be given jobs.
Before the undressing took place 20 men were selected, including me, to be laborers. We were led behind the hut situated on the right side and used to sort clothes. Simultaneously, the strongest and youngest ones of the remaining people who had undressed carried the clothes into the courtyard behind the hut while being beaten by the Germans and Ukrainians. At more or less the same time the women were leaving after having had their hair shaved, while the men had already carried clothes into the courtyard. All of them were sent onto the pathway that ran to the gas chambers (which we called the road of no return). All the people who were unable to follow the death pathway on their own were taken to a so-called lazarett, where they were shot to death and cremated in a pit with a permanently burning fire in it. I heard that on many occasions people were cremated there alive if [they had not been shot to death but] had only been wounded.
I heard about a case of a Gypsy who was wounded in the evening and thrown into a pit; he climbed out of it, burnt, and was sitting on the edge of the pit when he was found by the lazarett staff on their way to work in the morning. It also happened that naked men from the first daily transport were kept until the evening, so that they would carry the clothes from all the transports that day, and in the evening they were sent to the gas chambers with the last transport.
The gas chambers were located in Camp no. 2. I heard that there were initially three chambers and that ten more were later constructed. In that place there were pits for the burying and cremation of corpses, and huts for about 300 laborers who were used to work at the gas chambers. These people were only able to survive there for a few, a dozen or so days, and they were replaced with newcomers every now and then. Camp no. 1. housed a ramp, storehouses, huts for Germans, Ukrainians and for Jewish laborers, usually 700 of them. The Jewish laborers could be divided into several groups. Most of them worked as manual laborers (I also worked as a laborer on the construction of fences until I escaped during the uprising). Another group worked in workshops as skilled laborers. There were also small groups of so-called blue laborers who worked on the ramp, and so-called red ones, who worked in the undressing courtyard. Each of these groups was headed by a Kapo.
I heard that initially, before my arrival, the laborers who worked in Camp no. 2 were sometimes able to get into Camp no. 1, and it was them who gave us the information concerning how the gas chambers were arranged. Later on, it was impossible to get from one camp into the other one.
As for the chambers, I could see them from a distance when I was repairing the fences. They looked like a shed. There was a Star of David on the top, and, apparently, an inscription “ Judenstaat.” The shed was situated on high concrete foundations, so one entered it by climbing a few steps. There were concrete chambers inside on both sides of the corridor, and the entrance to each chamber led through a tightly fitting door. There was a hatch in each gas chamber that could be lifted up from the outside, which was lifted after the people inside had been exterminated, so a substantial number of corpses fell out thanks to inertia.
Each individual chamber was filled with people to such a degree that its door had to be locked using considerable force. The killing was conducted by pumping air out or pumping exhaust fumes in. Anyway, I know that there was a motor next to the shed which housed the gas chambers; I do not know if it was used to pump air out or to produce fumes and pump them in.
The corpses that fell out of the chambers were carried by the laborers into the pit. In my opinion, the cremation of corpses on a large scale started in February 1943, with Bagier diggers, which extracted corpses from the graves and threw them onto the grates made of iron railway tracks located in the pits, which were constantly on fire.
I do not know if the corpses had been cremated before that.
During the uprising (2 August 1943), the cremation of corpses had basically come to an end. As far as I know, the extermination of Jews in Treblinka started in June 1942 and during this initial period people were killed with machine guns and buried still wearing their clothes. One was often able to find graves full of corpses with their clothes still on them while doing field work in the camp.
The period from August until the beginning of December 1942 was probably the period of the most intense extermination of Jews. Anyway, from my arrival until the above- mentioned final date at least three transports of 60 wagons each arrived daily; there was then a break in arriving transports; later, in January and February 1943 their frequency intensified again, while the last transport from the Warsaw Ghetto, if I am not mistaken, arrived as late as July 1943. Until New Year’s Day 1943 transports arrived mainly from Warsaw, Częstochowa, Kielce, Radom and the areas surrounding these cities, as well as from Berlin, Vienna, and Prague. In April 1943 a transport of about 40,000 people arrived from Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
By all accounts, while sorting the clothes from the old transports people found French and Belgian papers. In March and February 1943 there were transports arriving with people from the vicinity of Grodno and Białystok. At that time it happened that single transports of Gypsies arrived. From time to time Poles were brought too, in vehicles or individual wagons, but that was very rare, so it is possible to say with certainty that the camp in Treblinka was intended for the extermination of Jews.
It is a strong characteristic that until the very last moment they sought to maintain the belief among victims transported for extermination that they had arrived at a labor camp. In order to accomplish this, a fake railway station was built on the ramp, with fake entrances to ticket offices, buffets and waiting rooms. I can also remember that during my stay in the camp there was a notice that read “Attention, Varsovians.” The notice ordered a hand-over of money and valuables in order to be deposited, emphasizing that after a bath had been finished and new clothes had been distributed, everything would be returned.
There were inspections in the camp, conducted by various dignitaries, which took place once a month on average. I saw SS generals with my own eyes, whom I was able to recognize by their red facings and side stripes. During some inspections we were grouped in the courtyard where the German personnel was submitting a report, while during others we were locked in the huts. The people inspecting the camp also visited the place where the gas chambers and cremation pits were located. These inspections usually took place after the last evening transport. My fellow inmates claimed that in March 1943 Himmler himself inspected the camp and that it was him that issued an order to carry out the wholesale cremation of all corpses.
It has also been proved beyond doubt that the extermination of people was to make profit. This developed throughout the period when the camp was operational, and with time the method of taking over Jewish possessions was perfected. As I mentioned earlier, at first corpses were buried wearing clothes; later on all clothes were taken away, carefully sorted, and from time to time sent to Germany in numerous wagons. I saw wagons that had labels specifying different German cities of destination with my own eyes (I can remember Hannover, Berlin). The manner in which gold and money was taken away from the victims was also gradually perfected. A special work unit was formed (so-called Goldjuden). Their task was to sort money, gold and valuables. One or two vehicles loaded with boxes of gold and money were regularly sent away every two weeks. The personnel of the camp, Germans and Ukrainians, tried to steal the gold and money for themselves as much as was possible and I know that especially Ukrainians had on them large sums of money and gold; as a result, with time, strict regulations were introduced in order to stop the illegal collection of gold by staff.
As for the treatment of laborers, it was full of cruelty and sophistry. A German called Franz, nicknamed Lalka, was the one who excelled most in such cruelty; he often set dogs on people and shot people with pellets using his double-barrelled shotgun. I remember that a laborer who was caught with money on him was hung by his legs and then finished off in the lazarett. The flogging punishment was used on a daily basis. The victims who were unable to bear it were finished off in the lazarett. I can also remember that a naked laborer was put at the gate in winter and doused with water. Ukrainians also had a free rein with regard to Jews and they also mistreated and tortured them. I also remember the surname of one German, Mutte, who did not do the beatings himself, but escorted everybody who, in his opinion, deserved to die, to the lazarett.
I escaped from the camp on 2 August 1943 during the uprising.
The witness interview report was read out to the witness and he confirmed it by signing it on each page.