Bittersweet Triumph

TREBLINKA (Photo from BBC.co.uk)

  • During World War II Treblinka was a Nazi death camp near the village of the same name in occupied Poland.

  • During the next 15 months, some 850,000 men, women and children were asphyxiated there, including more than 800,000 Jews and several thousand Romani people.

  • The dual-purpose installation was operated by the SS and Eastern European Trawnikis.

  • Treblinka I was designed for forced-labour… Treblinka II was the murder facility, where more than 99 percent of new arrivals were sent to its gas chambers.

  • Beginning in March 1942, the SS implemented Sonderaktion 1005 to cover up the murder of millions of people during Aktion Reinhard.

  • Their actions were so successful that Holocaust deniers have since used the site as an example of what they claim is  misinformation about the Nazi genocide.

  • Treblinka II ended operations on October 19, 1943 following a revolt by its Sonderkommandos.

I’ll admit that this is a rather dour way to introduce an archaeological finding, but it serves to remind us of the gravity that inheres in this story, told in the words of forensic archaeologist Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls, from Staffordshire University at Stoke-on-Trent, in the UK.

Caroline Sturdy Colls photo

Sturdy Colls employed only non-invasive survey techniques out of respect for Jewish traditions surrounding the resting places of the dead–ground-penetrating radar, resistivity and other electric imaging provided the only  observations she needed to reach her conclusions. Those surveys have revealed the existence of what are almost certainly the mass graves of Treblinka’s victims, and the buried remains of the gas chambers, which were the only structures on the site made from imperishable materials–in this case brick.

Caroline Sturdy Colls photo

     The photo on the right shows the telltale swale that results when disturbed sediments are piled atop undecomposed organic material and allowed to settle without addition of new fill. And the satellite image below, overlain with Sturdy Colls’s findings, paints a picture of the enormity of the crimes and the lengths to which the Nazis went to erase all evidence of their activities at Treblinka.

The Ukranian ‘farmhouse’ is what the Nazis left behind after they attempted to obliterate evidence of their activities at Treblinka. It was built of the bricks salvaged from the gas chambers (Caroline Sturdy Colls image).

The Holocaust deniers are already about, purveying their insidious lies and innuendos about this new wor documenting Treblinka’s history. Only through continued work to expose the truth, including new ways to document the horrors such as those employed by Dr. Sturdy Colls, and the determination of the world’s media never to forget will there be an end to the lies that denigrate the sacrifice of those who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis.

     For Sturdy Colls, and for archaeology, this is indeed a bittersweet triumph. Who was it ever said archaeology has no practical application in the lives of contemporary people? 

7 thoughts on “Bittersweet Triumph

  1. That equates to 56,000 killed every month. Need bigger burial pits and more ovens to do that lot I would have thought, plus the fuel to fire the ovens, slight exaggeration me thinks

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  2. At the risk of engaging in a conversation with someone whose ears will never hear the truth, I'll respond with this. 1. 56,000 a month is only about 200 an hour (based on an 8-hour day). The prisoners were gassed, not cremated outright, so fuel isn't a consideration. Colls's survey covered only the vegetation-free areas within the camp boundaries. Looking at the aerial photo you can see that there is plenty of space that hasn't been explored. Enough space, I'd say, to harbour thousands of mass graves on the scale of those for which Colls has found traces. No exaggeration needed.

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  3. You seem pretty sure of yourself Rob. But there is one little problem with your story and the claims of CSC – It is a historical fact that not one grave that contains so-much-as – 1 / 1,000 of 1 % – of the alleged buried bodies has ever been located / proven to exist at Treblinka – NOT ONE!

    There's another little problem Rob. CSC cravenly refuses to defend her so-called “scientific findings” and she cravenly refuses to answer the following very simple questions about Treblinka that I have posed to her:

    Forensic Experts Skeptical About So-Called “Scientifically Proven” Graves / Human Remains At Illusory WW II Era Archaeology Sites

    * * * * *

    Five Very Simple Investigatory Questions

    About Caroline Sturdy Colls Suspiciously Vague Treblinka Investigation

    (Legitimate scientists do not fear answering pertinent questions about their claimed discoveries.)

    # 1 – Is it known – WITH 100 % CERTAINTY – via bona fide, verifiably honest and conclusively documented archaeology / forensic science that, at – Treblinka II – there are extant graves in which actual human remains have literally been – physically unearthed / tangibly located – by legitimate archaeologists / crime scene investigators? – Yes. – or – No. __?__

    # 2 – At Treblinka II, it is known – WITH 100 % CERTAINTY – that, to date, no less than __?__ extant graves have been discovered in which legitimate archaeologists / crime scene investigators have – via bona fide, verifiably honest and conclusively documented forensic science – literally / truly – physically unearthed / tangibly located – actual, verifiable, scientifically proven human remains.

    # 3 – Is it true or false that, at – Treblinka II – there were actual trash and/or trash burning pits and/or latrine pits / trenches and/or water wells that were dug / used as such by the Germans – during their time of occupation? – TRUE. – or – FALSE. __?__

    # 4 – Is it true or false that, at – Treblinka II – there were numerous exploratory excavations dug by so-called “robbery diggers / treasure seekers,” and/or by Soviet / Polish investigators – after the time of German occupation? – TRUE. – or – FALSE. __?__

    # 5 – Is it true or false that, extraneous cremation remains have been deposited at – Treblinka II – after the time of German occupation? – TRUE. – or – FALSE. __?__

    How about you Rob? Do you have the courage, integrity and character to answer the questions?

    Greg Gerdes
    President
    The National Association of Forensic Historians
    http://www.nafcash.com

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  4. Mr. Gerdes.
    You certainly took your time finding me! I'll get right to the point. I presume that a man such as you—courageous, and with unimpeachable integrity and character—would with alacrity acquiesce to this, my plea, to you: with all due respect, I ask that you never again spill your noisome metaphorical ink at my blog, nor mention my name in any of your screed, nor that of my blog, moreover that you never attempt to contact me by any other means, nor those readers of The Subversive Archaeologist whose names have appeared on its virtual pages, nor anywhere else in or on my virtual domain—www.thesubversivearchaeologist.com.
    Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
    Sincerely,
    Rob Gargett
    Proprietor, The Subversive Archaeologist.

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  5. What's wrong Rob, are the 5 simple questions too hard for you to understand?

    I'll just ask you one at a time then, OK? (That might make it easier for you.)

    Here goes:

    One Very Simple Investigatory Question

    About Caroline Sturdy Colls Suspiciously Vague Treblinka Investigation

    (Legitimate scientists do not fear answering pertinent questions about their claimed discoveries.)

    # 1 – Is it known – WITH 100 % CERTAINTY – via bona fide, verifiably honest and conclusively documented archaeology / forensic science that, at – Treblinka II – there are extant graves in which actual human remains have literally been – physically unearthed / tangibly located – by legitimate archaeologists / crime scene investigators? – Yes. – or – No. __?__

    You do have the intelligence to understand this simple yes or no question, and the courage, integrity and character to answer it – don't you Rob?

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  6. What are you going to do Rob, ban / censor me for asking you one simple yes or no question about an article that you wrote? Wouldn't that show the world that you are utterly lacking in courage, integrity and character? It would certainly prove it to yourself, wouldn't it Rob?

    As for your so-called friends, what kind of “friend” would encourage you to hide / run from the truth?

    It's just a simple question Rob – is the answer – Yes. – or – No. – ??

    Like

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