The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Survivor's Memory, 1942-1943

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Pegasus Books, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 138 pages
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“Before me sits a young woman. I cut off her hair, thick and beautiful, and she grasps my hand and begsme to remember that I too am a Jew. She knows that she is lost. ‘But remember,‘ she says, ‘you see whatis being done to us. That‘s why my wish for you is that you will survive and take revenge for our innocentblood, which will never rest.‘ She has not had time to get up when a murderer who is walking betweenthe benches lashes her on the head with his whip. Blood shows on her now shorn head. That evening,the blood of tens of thousands of victims, unable to rest, thrust itself upwards to the surface.“
          —from The Last Jew of Treblinka

Why do some live while so many others perish? Tiny children, old men, beautiful girls. In the gas chambers ofTreblinka, all are equal. The Nazis kept the fires of Treblinka burning night and day, a central cog in the wheelof the Final Solution. There was no pretense of work here like in Auschwitz or Birkenau. Only a train platformand a road covered with sand. A road that led only to death. But not for Chil Rajchman, a young man whosurvived working as a “barber” and “dentist,” heartsick with witnessing atrocity after atrocity. Yet he managedto survive so that somehow he could tell the world what he had seen. How he found the dress of his little sisterabandoned in the woods. How he was forced to extract gold teeth from the corpses. How every night he hadto cover the body-pits with sand. How ever morning the blood of thousands still rose to the surface.

Many have courageously told their stories, and in the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’sSurvival at Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved, Rajchman provides the only survivors’ recordof Treblinka. Originally written in Yiddish in 1945 without hope or agenda other than to bear witness,Rajchman’s tale shows that sometimes the bravest and most painful act of all is to remember.

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User Review  - TheWasp - LibraryThing

A very solemn account of the time spent by the author in the Treblinka death camp and his documenting of the processes and atrocities performed there. Not a pleasant read but an important reminder of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Veeralpadhiar - LibraryThing

Treblinka is less infamous compared to Auschwitz. The main difference between the two is that Auschwitz was a work as well as an extermination camp but on the other hand, Treblinka was solely an ... Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Chil Rajchman was born in Lodz, Poland, where he was an active member of the Jewish community. He survived for a year in the notorious Treblinka death camp and was part of the Treblinka workers’ revolt. Rajchman was also a key witness in the prosecution of a Treblinka guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” during a war-crime tribunal in Germany. He emigrated to Uruguay, where passed away in 2004.

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