" - code name for the extermination of Polish Jewry in the former Generalgouvernement
and the Bialystok
area, better known as "Aktion Reinhard
was taken in remembrance of SS-Obergruppenführer
, the coordinator of the Endlösung der Judenfrage
of the Jewish Question) - the extermination of the Jews
living in the European countries occupied by German troops during WW2. Members of the Czech underground resistance
fighters assassinated Heydrich
on 27 May 1942
The head of Aktion Reinhard
, (SS- and police chief of the district
), appointed by
, chief of Hauptabteilung Reinhard
Reinhard), was responsible for personnel and organization of deportations, extermination camps and realization of
the victims' valuables.
and his staff of
the euthanasia programme ("Aktion T4
") - experienced in killing innocent victims such as the mentally and
terminally ill - were not sent to the front but ordered to
and became the hard core in
the extermination camps in eastern Poland
(Complete Staff of Germans and Austrians
). The camp guards were recruited
from Soviet POWs, mainly Ukrainian and Volksdeutsche
who were trained at the
. Those T4 men who had no basic military training because they were
police men, workers or male nurses, underwent this in Trawniki
Many of them were
because of their atrocities in the death camps.
Aktion Reinhard headquarters
were located in
, the construction department in
. The clothes and belongings of the victims were stored and sorted in
and at disused hangars of the
Starting from 1 November 1941
Comparison of Dimensions
three extermination camps were constructed to cope with the population of adjacent ghettos and
other victims from surrounding areas: first Belzec
, and finally
. They were
located in the far east of Poland near the borders with Byelorussia and Ukraine. The camps
had to be located near main railway lines as victims were to be transported
, and in sparsely populated areas because of secrecy.
As a guise the victims were told that they were being transported
) east for resettlement and work.
The extermination process in
Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka
was similar to the
"well-tried" method used in the six euthanasia killing centers in Germany and Austria:
("You must get a shower in the bathroom!").
Handing over the valuables
(enrichment for the German Reichsbank
(realization of the clothings and finding of hidden jewelry).
Cooping up the victims in the gas chamber
(as narrow as
possible to minimize the air volume).
Use of carbon monoxide gas (CO)
(discharged through gaspipes).
Cremating the corpses
(covering up all tracks).
The structure of all camps was nearly identical:
From the reception area with ramp and undressing barrack the Jews entered a narrow, camouflaged path
(called sluice or tube) to the extermination area with gas chambers, pits and cremation grids.
The SS and Trawnikis stayed in a separate area, the
Jewish work command
too. Barbed wire fences, partially
camouflaged with pine branches, surrounded the camp and separated the different parts. Electric fences like
were not used. Wooden watchtowers completed the camp.
In course of Aktion Reinhard
approximately 2 Million Jews lost their lifes in
Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Majdanek
. Jewish property to the value of 178,045,960
(todays value around 760,000,000 US$)
and fell into the hands of German authorities but single persons too (SS and police men, camp guards,
non-Jewish inhabitants of towns and villages with ghettos or adjacent camps).
Aktion Reinhard Economics
ended in November 1943
. After they finished their bloody
work in Poland, most of the men
were sent to northern Italy for actions against remaining Jews and partisans. Many of them turned up again
in the concentration camp San Sabba
. The group disintegrated after the surrender of the
in Italy. See Himmler
The Police State
What was known, what was done by the Allies
Aktion Reinhard and Historical Perspective
Aktion Reinhard PRO Decodes
Aktion Reinhard Economics
Globocnik's Staff in Lublin
The Nazi Police School in Rabka
Aktion Reinhard Books
Camp Songs and Music
© ARC 2005