The Reconstruction of Belzec
Reconstruction of Belzec
4.1 The Camp's Earliest Phases
Figure 4.1.1, a Luftwaffe photograph flown in 1940, shows the major components of the future death camp. They are: the rail repair and maintenance facility, consisting of a locomotive roundhouse,
The Railroad repair facility was the site of a forced labor camp. where Jewish laborers were engaged in the construction of fortifications intended to defend against the Soviets. Two of the buildings were subsequently converted to use for the death camp. The roundhouse as a warehouse for victim’s belongings, and the water tower to house an electrical generator for the camp.
An enlargement of Figure 4.1.1 is presented in Figure 4.1.2. Here one can see a security fence,
In Figure 4.1.2, annotation “A” indicates the locomotive round house, “B” the repair shed, and “C” a water tower (These buildings still exist and are shown as they appear today on the ground in the color insets).
That the rail repair facility was being used to house the impressed labor force indicates that the camp was intended to be temporary. The onset of Reinhard in 1941, however prolonged the diversion of these facilities. The roundhouse continued to be appropriated by the Germans, this time to warehouse the belongings and clothing of the Jews murdered in the camp, while the water tower was converted to house the electrical generating plant for the camp, as is demonstrated in Figure 4.1.3, a photograph taken in 1944.
On the site of the future death camp, work on the sidings was completed sometime in 1941. Figure 4.1.4 shows a ground shot of a Jewish work commando posed before the embankment on which the sidings were laid. It was taken some time in 1941. The exact date is unknown which is unfortunate. The commando was completing the construction on the sidings begun by the Poles before the war in 1939.
Finally, Figure 4.1.5 is presented showing the state of the repair facility and its environs in 1944-45, after the death camp had been dismantled and after the arrival of the Red Army.
Last modified: February 12, 2008