“When digging the probes it was ascertained that camp graves have been previously dug up,” and also “that at the present time the entire camp area is being dug up by the local population looking for valuables.” Death-camp harvesters usually worked alone, lest a lucky find provoke envy from a neighbor (in the vicinity of Treblinka, diggers were robbed and tortured one another).
Both in Bełżec and in Treblinka it was common practice to take skulls home in order to check them out later, and “in peace.” There were also a few entrepreneurs who hired small crews to dig for them, such as a man known as the “banker of Bełżec,” who owned a brick factory in town and staked a claim to an area where a latrine had been previously situated in the camp.
She called one of the chapters of a small book she subsequently wrote about the Treblinka extermination camp “The Polish Colorado or About the Gold Rush in Treblinka.” She also described how plunderers with shovels were everywhere.
“They dig, they search, pulling out bones and body parts.
And monies as well as valuables, which Jews took on their final journey, hoping against hope that they might survive, in some small part trickled into the hands of the locals.Given the size of the site, approximating that of a sports stadium, it must have looked like a busy anthill. Like Treblinka, Bełżec was dismantled by the Germans, and the camp’s terrain was plowed over, and trees and grass were planted to cover mass graves.Bełżec was the first death camp to close—in mid-1943.They easily communicated in pidgin Polish-Ukrainian with the local people and were welcome guests in their homes, as bearers of looted money and valuables.Treblinka guards traded with the locals, buying alcohol, tasty food, and sex, and the inflow of capital into the area was beyond anything that had happened there before or has happened since.The writer Rachela Auerbach visited Treblinka on Nov.