On 21 November 1945, in Treblinka, Judge Z. Łukaszkiewicz interviewed the person specified below as a witness, without swearing him in. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Forename and surname||Kazimierz Gawkowski|
|Names of parents||Henryk|
|Place of residence||Treblinka|
|Occupation||pointsman with Polish State Railways|
From 1926 until now I have been working continuously as a railway employee at the Treblinka railway station. If I remember correctly, from the beginning of July 1942 until New Year’s Day 1943, railway transports of Jews arrived without a break.
I estimate that there were two transports a day on average at that time, but there were such days that even four transports arrived. After New Year’s day, the number of transports decreased considerably. A transport usually consisted of 60 wagons; after it had arrived at the Treblinka railway station, it was divided into three parts, each with 20 wagons, which were gradually moved onto the ramp of the Treblinka extermination camp. This was done by a shunting steam engine, which came to the Treblinka railway station from Małkinia specially for that purpose.
There were two German railwaymen permanently employed at the Treblinka railway station dealing with these transports and with their delivery to the camp. The personnel of the trains with Jews consisted of Ukrainians, Lithuanians, or German Gendarmerie under the command of Gestapo men. They shot at the wagons whenever the transported Jews attempted escape. One day, so many people were killed in this way at the Treblinka railway station that later four flat wagons were filled with the corpses.
Since I travelled in a shunting steam engine to the camp several times I know how individual parts of the transports were moved onto the camp ramp.
When the steam engine moved the wagons onto the ramp, it moved back to the gate, with only Ukrainians, SS-men and the Jewish laborers from the camp remaining on the platform. The people were immediately ordered to leave the wagons, but all their possessions and suitcases had to be left on the platform. All the people were sent behind a barbed-wire fence intertwined thickly with branches so that one could not see what was happening in there. At that time, Jewish laborers, two for each wagon, cleared the wagons of the corpses, any remaining bundles and faeces. After some time, one could hear screams, which lasted for a while and then died out.
There was a fake railway station built at the camp ramp with a fake clock and various notices, e.g. “Ticket Office,” “First-Class and Second-Class Waiting Room,” “Railway Dispatch” and so on. I suppose this was done in order to make the victims believe that it was an ordinary labor camp rather than an extermination camp.
Railway transports arrived at the Treblinka station from the direction of Siedlce and from Małkinia, but I think that more transports came from the direction of Małkinia. Each wagon usually consisted of more than 100 people, which I can remember because the number of people in each wagon was written on the wagons’ doors in chalk.
The transports usually came from various places in Poland, but there were also some from Bulgaria, Vienna and Germany. I can remember that the last transports, which were much smaller than the initial ones (each one had from 35 to 40 wagons), came from the East.
I cannot say exactly when those last transports came; however, I think it was in the summer of 1943.
As for the cremation of corpses, I know it lasted about a year and during that time there were always clouds of smoke rising from the camp, and one could smell awful burning within a radius of several kilometers.
The whole area of the camp was surrounded by high fences made of barbed wire and branches, and every several meters there were watchtowers with Ukrainians armed with machine guns, who shot at anybody who came up to the fence.
While travelling along the camp, in the direction of the gravel pit, I could also see four Bagier diggers working, digging pits in the camp.
The witness interview report was read out to the witness and he confirmed it by signing it on each page.