Jankiel Wiernik (1889 – 1972) was a Polish Jew who was deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka Camp on 23 August 1942. He escaped from there during the inmate uprising on 2 August 1943. On 6 June 1944, a text written by Wiernik titled A Year in Treblinka was sent by a Pole linked to the propaganda branch of the Polish underground government to the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. The text was published both in Polish and in an English translation that same year. An almost identical typewritten text of 22 pages with the same title, and also a separate 3-page manuscript, have made their way into an Israeli archive. This manuscript is probably Wiernik’s earliest texts, and the typewritten text may have been the basis for the published texts.
Wiernik was furthermore interviewed on 12 October 1946 by Polish judge Łukaszkiewicz, and he testified during a Polish show trial against Ludwig Fischer, the German wartime governor of the Warsaw District, on 4 January 1947. Here are some pertinent claims made by Wiernick in his texts:
- According to his manuscript, the killing was carried out using chlorine. In his later typed text, he claimed instead that mass murder occurred by feeding in the exhaust gas of a Soviet tank engine that served as an electricity generator for the camp. Of course, it would have had to run uninterruptedly in that case. Moreover, for such a task, a dedicated diesel engine would have been used, for which spare parts were available, but most certainly not the engine of a captured Soviet tank. It would have been much more difficult to obtain, to transport, to install and to rig to a dynamo, let alone to repair due to the lack of spare parts. Hence, there certainly was no Soviet tank engine driving anything. However, the exhaust of a diesel engine would not have been lethal in the time claimed.
- The three chambers of the old building measuring 5 m × 5 m held 450 and 500 people each, which would have resulted in an impossible packing density of 18 to 20 people per square meter. The ten chambers in the new building measured 7 m × 7 m and held 1,000 to 1,200 people each, which would have resulted in an impossible packing density of 20 to 24.5 people per square meter.
- The killing took some 25 minutes – which could have been achieved only with a gasoline engine, but not with any diesel electricity generator.
- The gassing victims looked yellow, although the victims of carbon-monoxide poisoning look decidedly reddish-pink.
- 10,000 to 15,000 people were gassed every day when he arrived, which was stepped up to 20,000 daily when the ten additional chambers were in service – which for a year’s worth of operation would have resulted in some 3.5 to 5.5 million victims for even the lower arrival numbers.
- Wiernik claimed during his 1947 trial testimony that 2.5 million victims had been buried already by February 1943 in the Treblinka Camp – more than three times what the orthodoxy currently claims as the camp’s total death toll.
- Wiernik insisted that Heinrich Himmler visited the Treblinka Camp around February 1943, at which point he “gave the order to exhume and burn all the corpses.” However, there is no evidence suggesting that Himmler ever visited Treblinka.
- Wiernik furthermore asserted that exhumed corpses were simply piled on pyres and lit – evidently with no fuel whatsoever. In fact, in his book, he wrote:
“It turned out that bodies of women burned more easily than those of men. Accordingly, the bodies of women were used for kindling the fires.” (Donat 1979, p. 170)
However, self-immolating corpses simply do not exist.
- To top it all, during his 1947 trial testimony, he stated:
“On these [cremation] piles were stacked three thousand or more old, young, men, women, pregnant women. Everything was engulfed in flames, and the bellies burst open at this high temperature and the babies jumped out alive.”
Interestingly, another text by an unnamed author exists that was published in late November 1943 in the Polish newspaper Kraj (Country). It has very similar contents to Wiernik’s text, hence might be an earlier draft of his later account. The article claims that initially inmates at Treblinka were machine-gunned, because the gas chambers had yet to be built. That is rather unlikely, though, because machine guns are notoriously difficult to aim and make bullets fly all over the place. The text says nothing about the killing method applied in the gas chambers.
A November 1942 report of the resistance movement inside the Warsaw Ghetto demonstrates that Wiernik is a profane plagiarizer. To his published Polish text, Wiernik added a map which he copied from this 1942 report. Wiernik kept the map’s title, legend and even the numbering of objects shown in it, which is explained in the 1942 report, but not in Wiernik’s text. It is all in there: the old building with three chambers, the new with ten larger chambers. He only replaced the false rumor of steam chambers of the 1942 report with the false claim of tank-engine-exhaust chambers.