Treblinka. “He killed a heavily wounded Jew with a rifle”

On the hot day of August 2, 1943, several hundred prisoners fled the Treblinka death camp. The camp secret resistance had been operating for several months by then. The aim was to destroy the death factory. This was partly achieved. However, for the fugitives crossing the borders of the camp was the first stage of their struggle for life.

During the war Stefan L. worked as a game keeper in the village of Guty. The Treblinka camp was located within his assigned area. When the prisoners rebelled and escaped, some of them hid in a nearby forest.

“The accused L., together with the German gendarmes, took part in a raid for a Jew who had escaped from the camp and pointed his rifle towards the escaped Jew, thus making it easier for the gendarman to approach the Jew and shoot him. (…) Another time L. caught another Jew and brought him to Józef S.’s house and ordered the latter to keep watch. J. S., however, let the Jew go and when L. came for him and did not find him, he threatened J. S., [saying he would be held] accountable (…).

Yet another time, when the Ukrainians attacked a Jew who had escaped from the camp with axes, the accused L., on the order of the German gendarmes, finished off the wounded Jew. Upon seeing the Jews shot by the German gendarmes, the accused L. finished them off and pulled their boots of their feet (…).

Another time, in the presence of a witness, Franciszek K., the accused L. killed a heavily wounded Jew with a rifle. The Germans ordered for the wounded Jews to be buried alive in the ground.”

In June 1962, the case of L. was heard by the Provincial Court. Psychiatric evidence indicated that the accused suffered from mental retardation, which limited his ability to understand his actions and “control his conduct to a significant degree”. Nevertheless, he was found guilty. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison.



About the Author

Katarzyna Markusz
Journalist, dealing with the history and culture of Polish Jews, conducting research on the Jewish community in Sokołów Podlaski. Editor-in-Chief of Jewish.pl.