Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

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PrudentRegret
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Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 3 weeks 6 days ago (Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:05 pm)

One feature of the alleged "Aktion Reinhardt" camps is that each had a narrow-gauge railroad.

  • Sobibor had a narrow-gauge railroad that led from the platform to Camp II, the area where luggage was sorted, and led to Camp III to the supposed gas chambers. Purportedly this railroad was created to carry sick Jews to the extermination area, but the much more obvious use would be to haul luggage and property throughout the camp as it was unloaded, sorted, deloused, stored, and transported.
  • Belzec also had a narrow-gauge railroad that was used to haul clothing to some warehouses by the main line.

Treblinka is an even more interesting case. First, it's worth describing the situation of Treblinka in the rail network.

Starting from, say Warsaw:
  • The Warsaw -> Bialystok line reaches the Malkinia Junction.
  • The Malkinia Junction intersects the Warsaw/Bialystok line and the Ostroleka/Siedlce line.
  • The line south from Malkinia to Siedlce reached Treblinka village.
  • A spur line was built from the Malkinia-Siedlce line southeast of the village Treblinka to penal camp Treblinka I.

Image

Image

As everyone knows, Treblinka I, the gravel mine, preceded Treblinka II, the extermination camp. According to wikipedia anyway, the spur that led to Treblinka I was constructed by the owner of the gravel mine.

An issue that was brought to the attention of the Axis forums and not adequately discussed was the design of that rail spur that led by TII to TI. This post was created by a user named robota:

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=96088

I was browsing some of the surviving Treblinka camp and one photo particular of the rail spur - this particular stretch of track seems most unlikely to have been able to have carried full strength trains on it. It is simply not adequately built.


Here is the pic to which he is referring:

Image

This picture was taken immediately in front of what is supposed to have been the gate to TII.

Given that it was reasonably common to use rail track to facilitate manual transport of building material and land fill, but rail track that was not designed and could carry normal rail traffic. I wonder if this track fits into this category.

The absence of any sleepers strongly suggests this. Under the weight of a heavily laden train it would either sink into the earth or simply buckle.

On the other hand it would be perfect for connecting the gravel pit at Treblinka I to the the main rail track 2-3 kms away.

Any suggestions?
The caption reads:
"A photograph take by a Soviet photographer in 1944. The gate through which the convoys passed. In the background is the Recieving [sic] Camp grounds. The fences were woven with pine boughs to prevent observation into the camp."


The user offers a couple of explanations:

This is not a debate of "was there a rail spur to Treblinka 2". Rather were these tracks photographed in 1944 the tracks along which large passenger trains and freight cars travelled.

The answer is clearly no, despite some sections of track that do show very rudimentary and very small irregular sleepers, it is inconceivable that these would be sufficient for normal rolling stock.

There are two possibilities
1. With the destruction of Treblinka II and the covering of traces the previous rail track was removed and placed with tracks sufficient for the manual haulage of landfill from the quarry further along to the main line.
2. The old tracks are still there but out of view and running parallel.

The explanation that the sleepers have all sunk into the soil and not visible is not credible in my opinion, nor is the claim that those irregular planks of wood were capable of bearing heavily laden passenger trains.

However the use of rail gauges for assisting manual labor and construction was very common in the KZ system. There are a number of photos in Birkenau showing track, similar to above, that is clearly unsuitable for normal rolling stock.

Here is another photo that shows a similar tracks construct with off cuts as sleepers.

...

I am sure no one would consider this as track which death trains came rolling along!


Another user seconds OP's opinion and claims experience in the railroad industry:

Long ago, I spent the summer between my last year in High School and my first year in College working on a repair gang for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Tamping ties (sleepers), leveling track and laying steel from 7:00AM to 3:30PM was the hardest physical labor I've ever done, but I look back on that summer with pleasant memories. In any event, I learned a little about railways and loads, and have to agree with robota that the track shown in his photo does not appear capable of bearing normal freight or passenger rolling stock. Although what appear to be makeshift ties are visible, they appear of irregular size and too flimsy to support a locomotive with boxcars loaded with human cargo. My guess would lie with robota's first alternative, as it would seem needlessly redundant to construct a flimsy second set of tracks parallel to the main normal load bearing set.

Regards, Kaschner


Lastly the user "sallyg" seems to suggest that the spur leading to Treblinka I was standard gauge, but I do not know what he is basing this conclusion off of. The photographs of this line seem to show a narrow-gauge spur, i.e. here is another one at a different location:

Image

Compare that to this narrow-gauge rail being constructed by the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, seems to be a match:

Image

Another comparison of the TII railway to an old narrow gauge railway in Germany.

Image

Image

Here are a couple of photographs which shows Jewish deportees changing trains from standard gauge main-line passenger cars to a narrow gauge train en route to Chelmno:

Image

Image

You can see the narrow gauge train in the foreground with the standard passenger carts in the background.

To top this off, last year the Treblinka Museum added a new artifact- a narrow gauge rail that was discovered in 2016 near the gravel pits:

https://muzeumtreblinka.eu/en/2020/03/2 ... ka-museum/

The Treblinka museum states:

This rail was discovered by scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology during archaeological works near the gravel pit in 2016. Signature OП3 83 IV indicates that it was manufactured by Putilov Company in St. Petersburg in 1883.

In the interwar period, a gravel pit belonging to the “Lublin Granite and Gravel Mines” company was opened. A special railway siding was built, and the found rail was probably an element of the system of transporting the spoil to the siding itself.


But this seems like speculation to avoid acknowledging that this is evidence the TI / TII spur was a narrow-gauge railroad. Based on visual inspection (admittedly limited when dealing with perspective in photographs), the rail appears identical in make, shape, etc. to the spurs photographed by the Soviets in 1944.

Simply put, the standard gauge passenger wagons could not have reached TII with the rail in this photograph. Passengers to TII would have had to switch trains upon reaching the Treblinka I/II spur, like in the photographs of the Chelmno deportees above. Or they would have been transported by truck.

The photographic and archaeological evidence suggests that the spur which connected the main Siedlce line to TI/TII was a narrow-gauge railroad.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 3 weeks 3 days ago (Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:47 am)

Here is another image of the remains of the Treblinka II/I spur running towards the camp next to the Siedlce line:

Image

For reference, here is a photograph of a railway from a similar angle which shows the width of a standard gauge railway:

Image

The Siedlce line was a standard gauge:

Image

We can verify this fact by overlaying a photograph of the Siedlce line with a similar angle of view, and we see the rails correspond with each-other.

Image

The blue lines overlapping the yellow Standard Gauge lines show that the Seidlce line was standard gauge, which is a known fact.

But corresponding the image above to the reference image shows that the gauge of the Treblinka spur was narrower:

Image

The Treblinka spur was about metre-gauge. The rails in this picture could not possibly have accommodated standard gauge, fully loaded rolling passenger stock.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 2 weeks 1 day ago (Thu Oct 07, 2021 12:51 pm)

I've been reviewing the aerial photographs of the area reproduced by Walendy in his article on Treblinka. There are many features in that reproduction which are not visible in John Ball's analysis, and they are very very interesting features to say the least.

The whole image:
Image
The first feature of note is that this photograph shows the strongest indication yet of the Treblinka spur turning from the Road/Railway through modern-day Poniatowo:
Image

There's no indication of a branch from the main Siedlce line to the Treblinka camps. There's no indication of a parallel railway either. You can see the outline of the Poniatowo path clearly turn into the Treblinka camp right where the spur was. That also corresponds to this 1944 image, which seems to show the Treblina spur on the top of the photo turning into the forest from modern-day Poniatowo- not branching from the Siedlce line:

Image

But then something else caught my eye to the most north part of the photograph:
Image

This is zoomed in on the area over the Treblinka station. This is just south of the Bug and Malkinia. Notice how there is an array of very large structures leading from the Eastern side of the Bug bridge to Treblinka station. I found this odd because these structures are not visible in the photographs reproduced by John Ball, which indicates they were dismantled before those images were taken.

Since this photograph provides a scale (see first image), I estimated the length of the structures in this way:

  • Walendy reproduction shows 5 cm = 1.9 km and 1 cm = 380 m.
  • In an image editor, the reference ruler is about 387 pixels long.
  • That would correspond to about 77 pixels per 1 cm, which would make each pixel about 5 meters.
  • Using an image editor I estimated the length of the structures to be about 10-12 pixels, which would correspond to 50-60+(70 maybe) meters.

Those are large structures, and there are quite a few of them. I counted at least two dozen. On the ground it would have looked exactly like this photograph from Majdanek:
Image

I have not heard any analysis of these structures previously, if anybody is aware of any I would be very interested.

Then, I thought I would take a look at Google Earth to see if there's any hint of the remains of these structures in satellite imagery of the area. I almost fell out of my chair laughing:
Image

Those damn Nazis! The Gardenwaffen did a very diligent job of planting trees where the structures formerly were. It probably looks inconspicuous on the ground but it looks absurd in satellite imagery- bet they didn't think of that.

Here is a 2011 satellite image of the area with the Walendy photo of the structures next to it:
Image

Too funny. This looks like a cover-up if I've ever seen one. The only question is who is doing the covering up, and why.

I wonder what these barracks in between Malkinia and Treblinka station were for....

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby Merlin300 » 2 weeks 1 day ago (Thu Oct 07, 2021 8:50 pm)

PrudentRegret wrote:I've been reviewing the aerial photographs of the area reproduced by Walendy in his article on Treblinka. There are many features in that reproduction which are not visible in John Ball's analysis, and they are very very interesting features to say the least.



I wonder what these barracks in between Malkinia and Treblinka station were for....


Thank you PR for your interesting work.
I visited Treblinka back in1980's and was surprised to wander to the huge gravel pit and Treblinka I camp.
Every ton of gravel and every train had to pass right by Treblinka II.
Holocaust scholars had somehow over looked all this inconvenient evidence.


Now you have notice another set of evidence that has been stuffed in the Memory Hole.
Malkinia seems to have been a major stopping point for transports east.
In summer of 1942 it was probably very busy and, at times, there were people waiting for transportation to the liberated areas.

It is possible the barracks were temporary and unnecessary after 1943.

There is clearly much that needs to be (re)discovered about the operations of Malkinia and the Treblinka camps.
Don't expect any help from the Believers.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 2 weeks 1 day ago (Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:54 am)

Thank you Merlin.

I should clarify that the Aerial photograph showing these structures is apparently from November 1944 (exact date unknown) while the capture from Ball's analysis was taken earlier in May 1944. The May capture does not show structures at the location, but does show all of the roads and the camp perimeter that are seen in the November 1944 capture.

Image

I included both sides of the Bug, the north side the Malkinia side, and the south side the Treblinka side, because it turns out that this array of unknown structures planted over with trees extends to the other side of the Bug as well:

Image

Zooming in, the trees apparently did not grow as well and it is far more obvious that these planted trees are covering the foundations of structures that previously existed at these locations:

Image

The full shot of both sides of the bug really shows that we are talking about many structures of significant size on both the Malkinia and Treblinka side of the Bug which have never been explained so far as I'm aware:

Image

I agree with your analysis, that this infrastructure was most likely used for temporary housing of settlers and deportees on layover from Malkinia junction.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby borjastick » 2 weeks 22 hours ago (Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:10 am)

Excellent work Prudent Regret. I've been saying for years that Treblinka 2 was just a holding or spillover camp for the heavily used Malkinia Junction railway station. But wasn't there also an army barracks or some kind of camp at Malkinia too? If you could find that on the map it might also show the barrack buildings and that might add some weight to you story.

The line of regular spaced tree lines is very suspicious.
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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 2 weeks 9 hours ago (Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:40 pm)

borjastick wrote: But wasn't there also an army barracks or some kind of camp at Malkinia too? If you could find that on the map it might also show the barrack buildings and that might add some weight to you story.


Yes, it can be seen north of the two locations I included in a previous screenshot, I included it in this screenshot and it's visible as the large camp at the northern most area of the image:

Image

This camp is discussed in further detail in a different thread here. Nick Terry found a document which describes a "Malkinia camp" for Turkish Legionnaries, so that northern camp may have been army barracks for those units.

So, there has been some attention paid to that northern camp in Malkinia, but no attention as far as I'm aware to the 40+ large structures that ran across the Bug in 1944. The structures themselves are not seen in the May 1944 photograph, but the camp areas and other features (road, fences, etc.) are all there and in the same state as the Fall 1944 image where the structures are there. So these areas was certainly in use before May 1944, and I believe the foundations of the barracks are visible in the May 1944 photograph- especially on the north side of the Bug.

Walendy's work, the source of most of the 1944 aerial photographs I've posted, can be found here.

For my part, I think TII may have been used as a spillover camp for delousing and transit, but I think another primary purpose was to collect, sort, store, and disinfest property confiscated from Jewish deportees and the liquidated ghettos as part of "Operation Reinhardt", which was an economic initiative that denoted the SS administration and utilization of confiscated Jewish property. That economic initiative was named after the State Secretary Reinhardt of the Reich Ministry of Finance, which received the proceeds of the deliveries of valuables by the WVHA to the Reichsbank.

Malkinia itself seemed to be one large "transit camp" that spilled over the Bug all the way to Treblinka station.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby Archie » 1 week 5 days ago (Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:51 pm)

So the big picture here would be something like: The story is that the trains took the deported Jews directly to TII to be gassed. But if it was narrow gauge and/or the track was inadequate to handle normal freight, then that can't be true.

And the main evidence for it being narrow gauge thus far is photographic evidence plus some physical evidence from the gravel pit which has been acknowledged by the USHMM.

There are two possibilities
1. With the destruction of Treblinka II and the covering of traces the previous rail track was removed and placed with tracks sufficient for the manual haulage of landfill from the quarry further along to the main line.
2. The old tracks are still there but out of view and running parallel.

My guess would lie with robota's first alternative, as it would seem needlessly redundant to construct a flimsy second set of tracks parallel to the main normal load bearing set.

The first suggestion is completely ridiculous.

---
I remember seeing references narrow-gauge track in some of the testimonies quoted by Mattogno.

Page 79 of Holocaust Handbooks #8 Treblinka. From the Soviet report of Aug 1944.

The oven – this was a large trench 250-300 m in length, 20-25 m in width and 5-6 m deep, excavated by an excavator. Driven into the bottom of the ditch were three rows of reinforced concrete posts, one-and-a-half m in height each. The posts were connected to one another by cross-beams. On these cross-beams rails were placed at intervals of 5 to 7 cm. That was a gigantic oven grill. A narrow-gauge spur track led down to the edge of the trench.

And from Mattogno's new Reinhardt book (#28), he quotes from a witness Goldfarb.
During the first period, a narrow-gauge track led to the building, upon which we transported corpses in small carts to the pits. (pg 143)

for a time, there was a railroad with carts for transporting the corpses, but it was soon eliminated, because, in the judgment of our executioners, loading and unloading the carts was very time-consuming. The corpses were simply dragged by the workers [grabbing them] by the limbs (pg 161)

There are similar testimonies for Belzec and Sobibor about them using carts on a narrow-gauge track to haul the bodies to the pits. Mattogno notes on page 211-212 that Kola was unable to find this narrow-gauge railway during his excavations at Belzec and he seems to think it was mythical. But it could also be that somewhere there was some real basis for this detail, i.e., there was a narrow-gauge track that was used for some normal purpose.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 1 week 5 days ago (Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:33 pm)

Archie wrote:So the big picture here would be something like: The story is that the trains took the deported Jews directly to TII to be gassed. But if it was narrow gauge and/or the track was inadequate to handle normal freight, then that can't be true.

And the main evidence for it being narrow gauge thus far is photographic evidence plus some physical evidence from the gravel pit which has been acknowledged by the USHMM.


That's correct, if the Treblinka spur was a narrow-gauge railway for industrial use, which it appears it was according to photographs, then it was unable to receive transports of standard gauge rolling stock, the type associated with the so-called "Holocaust Trains".

There is another piece of important circumstantial evidence, which is that the "Treblinka spur" connecting to the quarry (TI) was actually built before the war. It is widely acknowledged that this was a narrow-gauge railway for industrial use. The advantage of narrow gauge is that it can go places wide gauge cannot which is an important requirement for industrial use like mining gravel. It appears that there were several quarries in the area, so there must have been a network of narrow gauge railways for industrial use, with the Treblinka spur being one of them.

So before the war it is basically accepted that the "Treblinka spur" was a narrow gauge railway. During & after the war, but after the dismantling of TII, photographs also show that this spur was a narrow gauge railway. For example, the railway on the left is the main Malkinia-Siedlce line, and the railway on the right is the Treblinka spur. These photographs were taken at the exact same location where the road crosses both lines, and any reasonable person can see (and it can be shown through analysis similar to what I did earlier) that the Treblinka spur embedded in the road is a narrower gauge than the Malkinia-Siedlce line, and so the railway on the right could not have branched from the railway on the left, and passenger carts would not be compatible between the two railways:

Image

Archie wrote:There are similar testimonies for Belzec and Sobibor about them using carts on a narrow-gauge track to haul the bodies to the pits. Mattogno notes on page 211-212 that Kola was unable to find this narrow-gauge railway during his excavations at Belzec and he seems to think it was mythical. But it could also be that somewhere there was some real basis for this detail, i.e., there was a narrow-gauge track that was used for some normal purpose.


Yes, this is why I found this thread about the Treblinka spur. I noted the use of narrow-gauge railways for Belzec and Sobibor and tried to find some sort of correspondence with Treblinka. I was surprised to see photographs which show the Treblinka spur was itself narrow-gauge.

I do think all these camps had narrow-gauge railways for industrial use, primarily to haul property around the platforms and camps for disinfestation, sorting, storage, and transport.

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby cold beer » 1 week 4 days ago (Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:27 pm)

Excellent work.
How could these apparent foundations for barracks go unnoticed for so long, with all the visitors to this site?

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby PrudentRegret » 1 week 2 days ago (Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:33 pm)

Here is another view of the Fall 1944 Aerial photograph which shows these unknown structures (likely barracks) on both sides of the Bug:

Image

Notice how both side of the Bug have a spur or road that connects these structures directly to the Warsaw-Bialytosk line, and those paths are still visible today as roads which connect those structures directly to that main line:

Image

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Re: Treblinka II Narrow-Gauge Rail

Postby borjastick » 1 week 2 days ago (Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:24 am)

Surely if these were inhabited by workers or military they would have known what was claimed to have been going on in T2. Why have I never heard about these barracks, or whatever they are, before?

If my plan comes to fruition and I get to Treblinka next year, after all this covid nonsense I'll make an effort to get to look at these locations to see what remains today.
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