Chil Rajchman, a Polish Jew, was arrested with his younger sister in 1942 and sent to Treblinka, a death camp where more than 750,000 were murdered before it was abandoned by German soldiers.
His sister was sent to the gas chambers, but Rajchman escaped execution, working for ten months under incessant threats and beatings as a barber, a clothes-sorter, a corpse-carrier, a puller of teeth from those same bodies.
In August 1943, there was an uprising at the camp, and Rajchman was among the handful of men who managed to escape.
In 1945, he set down this account, a plain, unembellished and exact record of the raw horror he endured every day.
This unique testimony, which has remained in the sole possession of his family ever since, has never before been published in English.
For its description of unspeakably cruelty, Treblinka is a memoir that will not be superseded.
In addition to Rajchman's account, this volume includes the complete text of Vasily Grossman's 'The Hell of Treblinka', one of the first descriptions of a Nazi extermination camp; a powerful and harrowing piece of journalism written only weeks after the camp was dissolved. Introduction by Samuel Moyn, Professor of History at Columbia University and author of A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Quercus Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/03/2012
- Category: Memoirs
- ISBN: 9781849163996
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by Veeralpadhiar
Treblinka is less infamous compared to Auschwitz. The main difference between the two is that Auschwitz was a work as well as an extermination camp but on the other hand, Treblinka was solely an extermination camp. Nobody that arrived at Treblinka survived more than a few hours, as they were gassed immediately. So, after the war, there were very few eyewitnesses who could recount the horrors of Treblinka. This is the reason why Treblinka didn’t surpass the infamy of Auschwitz. Only Jews that were able to survive death on arrival were those who were assigned to dispose off any traces of the corpses. Chil Rajchman was one of them.<br/><br/>‘Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory’ is the most harrowing account I have ever read of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in the concentration camps. And I should mention the fact that there were even Ukrainian guards (144 of them) along with the SS (100 numbers) at Treblinka who “ran” the camp.<br/><br/>So, why should anyone read this piece of history that might give them nightmares for a very longtime? Renowned Russian war reporter and writer Vasily Grossman lays it very aptly:<br/><br/><b>It is the writer’s duty to tell the terrible truth, and it is a reader’s civic duty to learn this truth. To turn away, to close one’s eyes and walk past is to insult the memory of those who perished.</b><br/>