Vassily Grossman, a Jewish journalist from the Ukraine was known for his coverage of how the Red Army fought against the invading Germans. He was among the first journalists to visit the remains of the killing center at Treblinka and his essay on the subject appeared in the Soviet literary journal Znamya (Banner) in November 1944.
Excerpts from “The Hell of Treblinka” by Vasily Grossman, 1944
To the east of Warsaw, along the Western Bug, lie sands and swamps, and thick evergreen and deciduous forests. These places are gloomy and deserted; there are few villages. Travelers try to avoid the narrow roads, where walking is difficult and cartwheels sink up to the axle in the deep sand.
Here, on the branch line to Siedlce, stands the remote station of Treblinka. It is a little over sixty kilometers from Warsaw and not far from the junction station of Malkinia, where the lines from Warsaw, Bialystok, Siedlce, and Lomza all meet. . . .
This miserable wilderness was the place chosen by some official, and approved by SS Reichsführer Himmler, for the construction of a vast executioner's block—an executioner's block such as the human race has never seen, from the time of primitive barbarism to our own cruel days. An executioner's block, probably, such as the entire universe has never seen. This was the site of the SS's main killing ground, which surpassed those of Sobibor, Majdanek, Belzec, and Auschwitz.*