Trains to Treblinka by Charles Causey
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.9 MB
Treblinka, Poland-1942. Daily, thousands of passengers including Bronka and Tchechia arrive at a destination they believe is a resettlement work camp, only to be immediately separated from their families and told to remove their clothing. Within moments, the masses disappear into a long, fenced passageway down the center of the camp called the tube, except for those indiscriminately chosen out of the lines by the SS. While ordered to carefully organize the discarded valuables of the passengers, the young men and women begin to unravel the mysterious truth about Treblinka, yet they are not allowed to ask questions. Only later, when the workers search for their loved ones to no avail do the Nazi’s menacing grins tell them all they need to know-that they must keep working or they will also end up entering the tube.
As the sobering truth about Treblinka sinks deeply into the workers’ hearts, a few of the men and women begin to plan a revolt. Based on a magnificent true story, Trains to Treblinka deftly interweaves the lives of several revolt organizers who pledge everything for the chance to burn down the camp and escape into the woods. When the day comes for the uprising, the young workers are barely able to contain their excitement and they risk betraying their own motives under the watchful eyes of the continually distrusting Nazis.
This well-researched, inspiring historical book is an authentic look at Treblinka written as a suspense novel.
urt Franz walked onto the sorting yard and began randomly shooting his pistol—aimed at head level—in a circle all around him. Crack! Crack! Crack! He finally emptied the revolver and began to reload it. Meanwhile, the Jewish workers fled in all directions to escape his wild entrance. Even the other SS and Ukrainian guards had to scramble out of the way. Typical of Franz, if not shooting when he arrived, he waved his whip and began hitting the first man he saw. It did not matter who the man happened to be, one sympathetic to the Nazis or to the Jewish workers. Franz wanted to punish people.
Franz believed he alone possessed the will necessary to keep Treblinka going. He understood what Stangl relayed to the officers a few days earlier about keeping the current loyal workers, but discipline must be maintained. Besides, Globocnik and he were allies. In fact, he felt he worked for Globocnik more than he did for Stangl. Stangl sometimes appeared weak, and did not have a stomach for discipline. But Franz did, and he was bound to use it.
He walked toward the railroad platform where hundreds of Jews were unloading. He took a Ukrainian guard’s rifle and told him, “You need to learn to use this thing.”
Franz shot into one of the railroad cars as Jews were trying to step out. An older gentleman fell back into the car, dead amidst shrieks from those around him. Franz shot a little girl who had gotten separated from her mother. Then he aimed at one of the blue-banded Jewish workers and squeezed his trigger, watching the man fall forward into the crowd. Franz handed the rifle back to the guard.
“Use it,” he said, while smiling.
Kurt Franz walked over to the mess hall where his dog Bari was waiting for him. After breakfast he would take Bari up to the platform and let him attack someone in the crowd. Franz knew the only way the Nazis succeeded over the Jews with inferior numbers was to put panic and fear into them as they were unloaded and herded into the tube. Franz prided himself on being the best at it, then Miete, and then Kuttner. Suchomel and some of the others were too lenient and soft, taking the guidance of the kommandant, which was not what Treblinka needed.
Franz ate in peace, reflecting on from where he had come just a few years before. At twenty-eight years of age he had seen a lot in his adult life. The son of a merchant, Franz was trained as a cook and then joined the SS and worked at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Because of his severity and competence there, he was recruited to help with euthanasia programs at several of the major centers where he alleviated a tremendous burden on society. Now he was at Treblinka, forced to deal with the continuous inpouring of Jews who were also destined to be purged from society.