Treblinka Archaeology

Introduction

During World War Two, National Socialist Germany operated two installations near the village of Treblinka in Poland, designated Treblinka I and Treblinka II respectively. Treblinka I is generally acknowledged as having been a forced labour camp. Treblinka II is the subject of two competing accounts: the orthodox, “exterminationist” view is that it was an extermination camp, to which Jews were transported, and there done to death in gas chambers; while revisionists aver that it was a transit facility, involved in the relocation of Jews.

According to the exterminationist account; approximately 900,000 Jews and 2,000 Roma were gassed at Treblinka II,  and buried in enormous mass graves. The bodies were allegedly subsequently exhumed and burnt in gigantic cremation pits. The remains are said to have been thus reduced to ash, surviving bones being crushed by three hundred Jews using mallets. The ashes and bone fragments were allegedly mixed with sand and spread over an area of 22,000 square metres (237,000 square feet).

Two forensic archaeological studies have been conducted at Treblinka. The above process of disposal of bodies would have left much evidence that archaeologists could not fail to detect.

The Krege Study

In 1999 an Australian team led by Richard Krege, and financed by the revisionist Adelaide Institute, examined the entire Treblinka II site. Their Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) indicated that huge pits had never existed there: the vast majority of the ground in the area remained in essentially natural and undisturbed condition. Visual soil inspection and extensive soil core sampling with an auger did not encounter any human or wood ashes, or bone fragments.

The Colls Study

A team headed by Caroline Sturdy Colls of Staffordshire University’s Centre of Archaeology, has been carrying out archaeological work at both Treblinka I and Treblinka II for six years. This study is being conducted on the basis that the exterminationist account is not open to doubt. Colls claims to have made tremendous discoveries which, if true, would appear to prove the exterminationist case.

In November, 2013 the UK’s Channel 5 broadcast a TV documentary on this project, titled ‘Treblinka: Inside Hitler’s Secret Death Camp‘. The Smithsonian Channel broadcast ‘Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine‘, an American version of the programme, in March, 2014. Revisionist Eric Hunt has replied with ‘The Treblinka Archaeology Hoax‘. These documentaries offer insight into Colls’ approach, and permit evaluation of her claims.

Human Remains on the Surface

In the videos Caroline Colls draws attention to small fragments of bone on the ground at the Treblinka II monument as clear evidence of extermination.

Hunt provides recently-shot TV footage from Deutsche Welle of Jewish crematory remains being scattered there.

“Mass Graves”

Colls has stated that she has discovered three previously unknown mass graves associated with Treblinka I. This matter is covered by the videos.

Colls states in the videos that lidar mapping has shown two hidden depressions near Treblinka I. The lidar image shown on screen indicates these apparently small rectangles in an area in which numerous similar features can be seen. Linear features are seen to radiate across the area.

Colls and her team are shown visiting the area in question. It is apparent that it is a clearly-marked cemetery; with a monument, and numerous crosses to mark graves. The radiating linear features on the lidar image are cemetery paths.

The depressions are excavated and a few bones discovered. A third trench is stated to have been dug, yielding more bones. Colls states that forty bones have been discovered in toto. A single adult human skeleton comprises two hundred and six bones.

Colls immediately declares these to be mass graves of persons murdered by the Germans in the Treblinka complex. They appear actually to be individual interments: the lidar image shows them to be comparable in size to the surrounding graves. No effort is made to identify the remains, or to establish the age of the burials. The only evident connection to Treblinka I or II is geographic proximity.

Clearly the claim that Colls has discovered three mass graves is not supported by the evidence. She has merely proven that a marked cemetery contains graves, which is hardly remarkable or relevant.

“Gas Chamber”

Another claim made by Colls is that she and her team have discovered and identified the foundations of a gas chamber at the Treblinka II site. This discovery is featured, or perhaps “re-enacted”, in the videos.

Excavation of a location indicated by GPR, uncovers the apparent scant remains of a building. A few coloured floor tiles are found. The reverse side of the tiles is shown to bear a six-pointed star device. Colls and her Dutch colleague place much significance on this “Star of David” as proof that this was a gas chamber.

Eric Hunt established that this device is not in fact a Star of David, but a heraldic mullet of six points pierced. This symbol, with letters on either side as seen on the tiles; is in fact the logo of the manufacturer, Dziewulski i Lange.

Caroline Colls merely presumes that this was a gas chamber, and presumption is not proof.

Lidar, GPR and the Giant Pits

The most important piece of evidence arising from Caroline Colls’ project, is one to which she is not drawing attention. Her lidar and GPR confirm the absence of the enormous pits on which the exterminationist narrative depends.

Conclusion

Setting aside the highly tendentious and fanciful claims made by Caroline Sturdy Colls, it is clear that the evidence produced by the archaeological projects at Treblinka renders untenable the account of Treblinka as an extermination camp.

Treblinka Archaeology