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Surviving Treblinka Hardcover – 8 Jun 1989

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; First English Edition edition (8 Jun. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631162615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631162612
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 838,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Format: Hardcover
An exceptional account of the Nazi death camp at Treblinka.
When one visits Treblinka today, it is difficult to imagine the atrocities and slaughter depicted in this excellent book. My own personal visit to Treblinka was on a Summer's day when the sky was blue and the birds were singing. The lasting impression left on me was one of utter isolation, emptiness and an absolute thunderous silence surrounding me.
Gone are the buildings and gas chambers, long destroyed by the Nazis in their attempt to extinguish any memory or evidence of the genocide that was perpetrated here. Apart from the symbolic cemetery and memorials and the remains of the railway station where the innocent Jews were disembarked prior to their massacre only minutes later, there is little to see apart from the location of the mass graves and the vast empty space amongst the surrounding trees where the Nazi extermination camp once stood.
Each individual stone memorial at the site representing one Jewish community whose members perished at Treblinka. Photographs, diagrams and maps are provided which afford a valuable context and framework to assist in the readers' understanding.
It is fitting therefore that Samuel Willenberg, one of the very few survivors of the Treblinka holocaust, has been able to provide us with his harrowing account of what actually went on there. The vast open spaces that I personally saw are here filled with maps and detailed descriptions of the hell erased by the Nazi genocide machine that killed so many innocent Jews. The procedures at this death camp from the moment that the innocents arrived at the railway platform still visible are documented in detail, until their wholesale slaughter in the gas chambers and the burning of their bodies in the burial pits not so far away.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everyone should read. Very important. I have 60 plus books on the Holocaust, I have many from survivors. Primo Levi books are also worth reading. Plus from all survivors. This book went into great detail as do most of the survivors stories who were all extremely lucky to survive, especially in the death camps.Don't forget about those who survived an those who died in all camps
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x89fe175c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a570f90) out of 5 stars Treblinka Death Camp. A Survivor Speaks. Essential reading. 19 Dec. 2002
By M. D Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An exceptional account of the Nazi death camp at Treblinka.
When one visits Treblinka today, it is difficult to imagine the atrocities and slaughter depicted in this excellent book. My own personal visit to Treblinka was on a Summer's day when the sky was blue and the birds were singing. The lasting impression left on me was one of utter isolation, emptiness and an absolute thunderous silence surrounding me.
Gone are the buildings and gas chambers, long destroyed by the Nazis in their attempt to extinguish any memory or evidence of the genocide that was perpetrated here. Apart from the symbolic cemetery and memorials and the remains of the railway station where the innocent Jews were disembarked prior to their massacre only minutes later, there is little to see apart from the location of the mass graves and the vast empty space amongst the surrounding trees where the Nazi extermination camp once stood.
Each individual stone memorial at the site representing one Jewish community whose members perished at Treblinka. Photographs, diagrams and maps are provided which afford a valuable context and framework to assist in the readers' understanding.
It is fitting therefore that Samuel Willenberg, one of the very few survivors of the Treblinka holocaust, has been able to provide us with his harrowing account of what actually went on there. The vast open spaces that I personally saw are here filled with maps and detailed descriptions of the hell erased by the Nazi genocide machine that killed so many innocent Jews. The procedures at this death camp from the moment that the innocents arrived at the still visible railway platform are documented in detail, until their wholesale slaughter in the gas chambers and the burning of their bodies in the burial pits not so far away.
This moving account of the functioning of the Treblinka death camp not only speaks out for those whose lives were destroyed and who cannot speak for themselves, but it also covers the heartbreaking daily lives of those prisoners who were forced to function as vital cogs in the Nazi death machine. Further to this we have a commendable account of the uprising against the Nazis amongst these prisoners, many of whom were also killed. Very few in fact survived to escape. One of those who did survive, escape and manage to bring this moving account to our attention was Samuel Willenberg.
The author's memoirs of Treblinka extend from October 1942 until the rebellion and his escape in August 1943, when he went into hiding in Warsaw and took an active personal part in the armed Polish underground resistance against the Nazis until the quelling of the Warsaw Uprising.
This is a must read on this particular section of the Holocaust. Of some interest is the portrayal of the underlying Polish-Jewish relations during the Nazi occupation. This is a story that will chill you to the bone.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d50fbdc) out of 5 stars an honest and blunt look at life in the treblinka extermination camp 16 Feb. 2007
By Benjamin L. Greathouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
One of the great Treblinka stories, though there have been relatively few unfortanetly, this one ranks right up there with Richard Glazar's book "Trap With A Green Fence", referring to the fences that were fitted with pines and shrubs so no one could see in or out of the camp, even being used to camoflauge sections of the camp from each other. A very detailed book, it was written right after the war so the facts had to still be fresh in his mind. The book is a hard one to read but also interesting, even psycologically, as many great books are from this era of the holocaust. But everyone knows Auschwitz, and terrible that place was. But life in Treblinka was a bit different from many other camps. Many prisoners wore fashionable clothes,taken from the sorting piles of those who had been killed in the camp's diesel engine gas chambers, a far cry from the Zyclon B which was to be used extensively at camps like Auschwitz and Majdanek, not the striped pajamas that many have seen in archival footage from concentration camps. Treblinka extermination camp was a world unto itself. The tales of SS men like Kurt Franz, Kuttner, Miete,Mentz, and Hirthreiter, among a few others, are spine chilling and just udderly sadistic. All in all, you need to read this book, even if you arent totally familiar with Nazi camps. But these extermination camps, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, they were much different from any other camp in occupied Europe during WW2. Read this book!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c6352ac) out of 5 stars Debunking Anti-Polish Holocaust Myths, With Reference to the German Nazi Death Camps 4 April 2007
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Samuel Willenberg is one of the few Jews who escaped from the Treblinka death camp. He provides gruesome details of what took place there. About 870,000 Jews were gassed or shot. The bodies were buried, and eventually re-exhumed and burned, up to 18,000 at a time, in massive open-air pyres. The book includes a sketch map of the Treblinka death camp, and even a photograph of German earthmoving equipment used to unearth the earlier-buried bodies.

When he was first deported to Treblinka, Willenberg heard remarks from Poles about "getting turned into soap" (p. 39). He neglects to mention the fact that Poles also used such remarks in reference to themselves (as later Jews did to each other). (It subsequently turned out that this was largely apocryphal. There was, however, a factory in Danzig (present-day Gdansk) in which Germans did use the bodies of mostly Poles to make soap.)

After the Jewish revolt and escape from Treblinka, the Germans' hunt was so intense that two of the Poles who helped Willenberg had already experienced a German search of their domiciles (p. 144, 147). He noticed how Germans were checking all traffic on the roads (p. 145), and also encountered a poster that warned Poles against helping any of the "typhus-bearing Jewish bandits" (p. 149). Some Poles approached by Willenberg for help were obviously so frightened that they immediately departed from him (p. 25, 28, 144). But, in spite of the death penalty for the slightest Polish assistance to Jews, local Polish peasants helped Willenberg on no less than nine separate occasions in the first days after his escape (pp. 143-on).

In time, Willenberg became a member of the AL, whose Communist nature he denied (p. 181) and, for awhile, the AK. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising, repeated accusations of the NSZ killing fugitive Jews (p. 178), and then said the same thing about the AK. Interestingly, Willenberg reports a discussion with an AK officer, who produced a list of Jewish Gestapo informers about to be liquidated, and with Willenberg on the list! The list had been found in possession of a Jew who was accused of being a Gestapo agent, based on the fact that he had been caught living with a German woman (pp. 182-183). Taken literally, this suggests that at least some cases of the AK killing innocent fugitive Jews was due to faulty intelligence. (Of course, with regards to wartime espionage, underground organizations don't have the luxury of conducting detailed investigations, and some innocent people get killed because of mistaken inferences). However, the very fact that Willenberg became an openly-Jewish member of the AK, and was allowed to survive a face-to-face accusation of an AK officer, alone should soundly refute the accusation of some (e. g., Yaffa Eliach, Oskar Pinkus) that the AK was implementing some sort of secret plan to kill all remaining Polish Jews!

One particularly malicious Polonophobic Holocaust myth is the one about the Nazis' choice of Poland as the site of the death camps because Poles welcomed them or at least wouldn't object much to them. No doubt, this libelous canard is facilitated by the countless misleading accounts in the western press of "Polish death camps". Ironically, not only didn't the Germans seek any form of "permission" from the conquered and despised Polish untermenschen, but actually kept the death camps a jealously-guarded secret. So extreme was this secrecy that a German woman who had inadvertently been shipped to Treblinka was deliberately killed in order to protect the secret of extermination (p. 30). And to add plausibility to the fraud about Jews only being resettled for forced labor, and Treblinka only being a labor camp, the Nazis actually HAD built a nearby labor camp, Treblinka 1, to which they had been sending Poles and later some of the deported Jews (p. 9, 101, 202). Periodically, Treblinka 1 inmates were dispatched to the Treblinka death camp, but never the other way around!

Certain authors (e. g., Yisrael Gutman, David Engel) have accused the Polish government-in-exile of delaying, and then understating, its reporting on the numbers of murdered Polish Jews. In his introduction, Bartoszewski puts Willenberg's experience in perspective, making it clear that only a trickle of substantive information ever escaped those extermination camps in which Polish Jews were being murdered: "Together the four death camps exterminated over 2 million Jews; we know of only two survivors from Belzec, three from Chelmno, sixty-four from Sobibor, and around forty from Treblinka." (p. 9). Even the indirect clue afforded by the odor of vast numbers of bodies being burned at Treblinka did not become reality until early 1943 (p. 17). In stark contrast to the Jews, Germans usually murdered Poles publicly. So why invoke nefarious motives to explain the fact that the Polish government-in-exile knew much more about the extent of Polish deaths than Jewish ones, and did so much earlier?

Another anti-Polish canard is the one about Germans choosing Poland as the site of the death camps so that they could conveniently recruit numerous Polish volunteers to assist in the extermination of Jews. In actuality, Willenberg doesn't mention even ONE Polish collaborator serving the Germans at Treblinka! He elaborates on the work of Ukrainian collaborators numerous times, describing them as follows: "While they disliked Poles, White Russians, and Cossacks, they reserved a sizzling, boundless hatred for the Jews." (p. 56).
HASH(0x8a5c1fc0) out of 5 stars This is one of the first eyewitness accounts I read ... 11 Sept. 2014
By mynott t - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the first eyewitness accounts I read about the Holocaust and it took my breath away in it's mine numbing horror of the day to day survival of the very few spared . All invariably worked to dispose of the 700,000 dead . No Treblinka was not a transit camp as Holocaust deniers would have us believe but the living hellish reality of a death camp. Pure and simple. the authors account has the ring of Truth and am confident that Franz Stangl would of confirmed most of the details of the author's on the camp's day to day operations.

Samuel Wllenburg has done an enormous service to humanity and future generations in recounting his devastating and harrowing experiences including the final camp revolt in which 49 of his fellow camp inmates and himself survived and lived to tell the tale. His battle of survival after the revolt is also gripping doing justice to both the Poles who willingly came to his aid and those who felt they couldn't for most understandable reasons.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c1f06d8) out of 5 stars Four Stars 4 Aug. 2014
By Robert L Nash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well done!
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