Treblinka: Hitler's Killing Machine Premieres 3/29 on SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL
It's one of the most notorious cold cases of World War II -- 900,000 Jews transported by the Nazis to a camp in eastern Poland, never to be seen again. Rare documents and eyewitnesses claimed Treblinka was a death camp even more ruthlessly efficient than Auschwitz-Birkenau, but evidence was thin, because the Nazis destroyed all traces of the camp. Holocaust deniers have even claimed that it was only a transit camp. Now, 70 years later, a forensic investigator and her team have gained unprecedented access to excavate the site for the first time.
TREBLINKA: HITLER'S KILLING MACHINE, premiering Saturday, March 29 at 8pm ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel follows their quest to finally uncover clues that reveal the brutal mechanics behind an operation designed to murder people on a mass scale. It is airing as part of "Women in Science," Smithsonian Channel's special month-long programming block celebrating Women's History Month.
Today, all that is visible where two camps once stood is the Treblinka Memorial and surrounding forest. No security fencing. No buildings. No gas chambers. Nothing to indicate that from 1942-43, the Nazis exterminated 900,000 people as part of Operation Reinhard, the official name for what is now known as the Holocaust. Now, thanks to work by British forensic archaeologist Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls and her team, the full story of Hitler's killing machine can be told.
The finds documented in TREBLINKA: HITLER'S KILLING MACHINE are significant and chilling, even 70 years after the mass murder. Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls and her team discovered three previously unidentified mass graves at Treblinka 1, which some thought had only been a labor camp. They also pinpointed the location of a gas chamber and other physical structures at Treblinka 2, the main extermination camp. The team uncovered human remains, personal artifacts and pieces of tile with the Jewish star imprint which match eyewitness descriptions of a gas chamber that had been designed to look like a bathhouse. She also reinforces her suspicions that the death camp was even larger than previously thought.