An aerial photograph of the Treblinka area. (public domain)
Treblinka was one of six death camps built by Germany during World War II. It was located near the village of Treblinka, north-east of Warsaw. The camp operated between 1942 and 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, one of the most murderous phases of the Final Solution.
Operated by the SS, the camp consisted of two separate compounds. The first compound, known as Treblinka 1 was a forced labour camp (Arbeitslager), in which prisoners were made to work in the gravel pit and irrigation area and in the nearby forest, where they had to cut wood to fuel the crematoria. The second compound was Treblinka II, the extermination camp (Vernichtungslager).
Treblinka II was designed purely for extermination purposes. A small number of inmates, who were not murdered immediately upon arrival, became the Jewish forced labour units called the Sonnderkomandos, whose tasks included burying the dead bodies in mass graves. Gassing operations at Treblinka II stopped in October 1943, following a revolt by the Sonnderkomandos in early August. Shortly thereafter, the camp was dismantled in the face of the advance of Soviet/Russian forces.
Jewish victims who perished at Treblinka. Images courtesy of Yad Vashem and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum