Uncovering the Remains of Treblinka

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Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls is a British forensic archeologist. Much of her  work is with police departments, often literally digging up missing persons — so  she’s used to uncovering remains.

Still, what she discovered during her research at the Treblinka death camp  was so emotionally wrenching, it forced her to tears. A riveting account of her  work there, “Treblinka:  Hitler’s Killing Machine,” airs March 29 at 8 pm on the Smithsonian  Channel.

Treblinka was actually two camps. Treblinka 1 was supposedly a labor camp.  Treblinka 2 was almost certainly the most efficient murder operation in the  history of mankind. About 900,000 people fell victim there in a little more than  a year. Camp commanders bragged about their efficiency.

But, facing an oncoming Soviet army, the Germans destroyed the buildings, dug  up mass graves and burned the bodies, forced local people to spread the ash and  planted trees to cover over what had been the camp.

They couldn’t make it completely disappear, but the absence of physical  evidence allowed Holocaust deniers to maintain that Treblinka 2 was a transit,  not death, camp.

Enter Dr. Sturdy Colls and her team. Working with the cooperation of the  Treblinka Museum and Polish authorities, and with the blessing of the Chief  Rabbi of Poland, they used 21st-century technology to find what the Nazis tried  to obscure 70 years ago.

Nothing remained on the grounds except the museum and the forest planted by  the Germans. Utilizing a system called lidar — an acronym for “light and radar”  — they were able to see through the foliage and found faint imprints they  thought might be the camp’s original foundation.

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/194995/uncovering-the-remains-of-treblinka/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Arts&utm_campaign=Arts%20Newsletter%202014-03-27#ixzz2xm4kQR8E

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