On 18 October 1945, in Sokołów, Judge Z. Łukaszkiewicz 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||Józef Pogorzelski|
|Names of parents||Kazimierz|
|Place of residence||Kostki railway station|
|Occupation||train dispatcher with Polish State Railways|
As far as I can remember, in June 1942 I was transferred to the Treblinka railway station, were I was to work as a train dispatcher. I worked as one until the arrival of the Red Army.
Already when I arrived there was a labor camp for Poles next to the Treblinka railway station and there were rumors that another camp was being prepared, whose purpose was then unknown.
Some time after my arrival at Treblinka the first transport of Jews arrived. At the same time, instructions came from the railway head office in Warsaw that there would be transports of resettled people running through the Treblinka station (Umsiedlungszuge).
Some time after the first transports (I can remember that the first transports came in the second half of July 1942), there was a horrible smell of dead bodies wafting to the station, and it was then that we all realized that there was another camp in Treblinka next to the labor camp – an extermination camp.
As for the way the transports were handled at the Treblinka railway station, it was as follows. When a transport arrived, it was manned by two German railwaymen, employed at the station especially for that purpose, who usually divided the transport into three parts with each one being gradually pushed by a shunting steam engine onto a siding which led to the camp.
No member of the Polish personnel of the railway station was permitted to enter the camp premises and that is why I do not know what happened to the transports after they had been moved into the camp and how the people were exterminated.
Each transport usually consisted of 50–60 wagons, with each wagon containing a lot of people. I can remember inscriptions in chalk, according to which there were 180–200 people in some wagons. The personnel of the trains consisted of Germans and Ukrainians, who killed a lot of people for any attempts to escape from the wagons.
Whenever a transport departed, there were many corpses lying at the station.
I can remember a transport from Międzyrzec, in which, as a gendarme from the train personnel said, there were 10,000 people. Reportedly, there were a lot of corpses in the wagons. From my conversations with the above-mentioned Germans employed at the station, I know that individual transports contained 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 and more thousand people.
As for the frequency of the transports, due to the passage of time, I am not able to clarify this matter in detail now. I know that there was quite a long time during which transports arrived constantly, every day. I suppose that I could determine the duration of the frequent transports most accurately as between the beginning of August 1942 and New Year’s Day 1943. Later, other transports arrived, but less often.
When the frequency was the highest, there were, I suppose, at least two transports on average. There were days when three and, I can also remember, four transports arrived daily.
At first, as I heard, the corpses of the victims were buried in pits; later, they started to be cremated (I cannot determine the date, from when). The cremation lasted all the time and continued for some time after the uprising in the camp (if I am not mistaken in August 1943), during which part of the camp was destroyed.
It very often happened that there were trains, consisting of 40–50 wagons, full of clothes, going through the Treblinka railway station and bound for Germany. I suppose that there were several dozen trains like this.
I also know that there were Jews from abroad transported to Treblinka. I can remember the transports from Bulgaria and Greece in particular.
While I was working at the Treblinka railway station, convinced that the figures concerning the extermination camp would be needed in the future, I tried to determine the total number of victims. I did not write anything down since the discovery of such notes by the Germans would have been fatal; however, I worked out the number of transports and kept it in mind. According to my calculations, at least two million people died in Treblinka.
I want to add the names of the Germans who worked at the Treblinka railway station. The name of the first one was Rudolf Emerich and the name of the other one was Willy Klinzmann. Any records at the Treblinka railway station regarding rail traffic were destroyed during military operations; anyway, the trains with Jews ran unscheduled and were not registered in the railway station records.
The witness interview report was read out to the witness and he confirmed it by signing it on each page.
I would like to add that in the spring of 1943, there were a few transports of Jews that went through the Treblinka railway station from the north (from the direction of the Małkinia railway station). They went through the station without stopping and were bound for Sobibór railway station.