Arrival at Treblinka:
Every transport of prisoners were first reassured that everything was fine and that they had nothing to worry about, and that they would be expected to go through a delousing process before moving onto the next stage of their resettlement. They were expected to hand over all money and valuables, and strip in preparation of a shower. The women and children were then separated from the men and then herded into a nearby building, whilst the men were forced to remove their clothing. The women and girls, now also naked had their hair shaved off, and then they were taken to another part of the camp complex (Camp 2) where they had to wait their turn, sometimes for hours, to be escorted into the gas chambers regardless of weather conditions. Some of the children and the elderly simply died whilst waiting due to the extreme conditions imposed upon them. The sadist guards also added to their misery with whips, rifle butts, dogs and the bayonet. In some instances, when the gas chamber doors were swung open, there were still some victims still barely alive that had to be dealt with.
Because of the means of transmitting the gas into the chambers, the engines that pumped the gas in would sometimes breakdown which added another layer of torture to those already in the gas chamber.
An eyewitness Account:
Jankiel Wiernik (1889 -1972) a Polish Jew and slave labourer within one of Treblinka's Sonderkommandos witnessed many a depraved act committed by the SS within the death camp - one such incident in which he witnesses occurred in April 1943 - he watched in horror as a group of terror stricken Jewish women and children, after being separated, were led to one of the burning pits that had been specifically dug to burn victims bodies, some of the women fainted in fear as they watched their fellow captives being murdered in front of them and their bodies tossed into the burning pits, the women who had collapsed were simply dragged to the edge of the pit and thrown in alive. The SS would also, for fun, snatch a screaming child from their mother's clutches and throw them into the fire and then dare the mother to jump in and save her burning child. And when the distraught women didn't jump in after them, their tormentors would laugh and mock them and accuse them of cowardice. Jankiel Wiernik would write down his experiences in Treblinka after the war in a pamphlet size book called ’A Year in Treblinka’.