Travnikova: as the Germans were preparing concentration camp guards of Soviet prisoners of war

History 20/03/20 Travnikova: as the Germans were preparing concentration camp guards of Soviet prisoners of war

In 1941, near the Polish Lublin throat, in the small village of Trawniki was a training center (camp) the SS for the training of persons sent punitive troops, guards of concentration camps, police battalions. A significant portion of learners were Soviet prisoners of war.
Initially, the Herbalists is transit camp for Polish and Soviet prisoners. Most of them were killed or died from exhaustion by the end of 1941. In 1941-1944 through the center of the Herbalists were more than five thousand people. The camp was originally designed for training support staff of collaborators. For the first set of “contingent” sturmbannführer Karl Streibel went to the pow camps in the occupied territories and was looking for people who had Jewish roots, was not involved in the Communist party and was healthy both physically and mentally.

Many agreed to his offer, wanting to save their life, judging that it is better to be full for the service of the Germans than dead in the camp. Some believed that, once in the herbalists will be able to escape. As it turned out later, to escape from the herbalists, it was impossible – the strictest discipline and supervision did desertion almost impossible. Those who tried were quickly caught and shot.

he was among Travnikova and volunteers from among the civilian population. They, along with some of the prisoners were a category of “ideological”, sincerely wishing killings of Communists and Jews.

All future cadets, taken to Trawniki, he signed a document which read: “We, the military, prisoners, enter into the German SS units to protect the interests of greater Germany”. Later personal Affairs, signed the oath, orders, titles and other documents meticulously gathered by the Germans, played many Travnikova who wanted to escape from the court. The documents came into the hands of SMERSH in 1944, and since that time for nearly half a century lasted the trials of former punitive and the camp guards.

the Shooting as part of training

courts many Travnikova, desiring to justify himself, said that the participation in the punitive actions and mass executions, they did not accept. However, interrogation reports indicate that trained not to kill people was impossible. During the interrogation in 1947 Travnikova Voloshin reported that “the shooting of citizens in the manner of practical activities” included in the special training course.

the Murder of a prisoner shot in the head was one of the “final exams” in the Herbalists. About this cruel practice in the interrogation told another travnickova – Tarasov: “the Jew was set back from us in 6-8 steps, the head of the school told me, so I shot him. I raised his rifle, took aim at the back of the head prisoner and shot.” He added that such trials were of each. People to “test” drive from situated near the labor camp for Jews, which operated until November 1943.

Some sources indicate that the idea to involve the executions of collaborators belonged to Himmler, who in August 1941, visited one of the mass executions. The pit into which fall all the new corpses, Nazi was bad. Accompanied Himmler General said that the firing squad makes it hard: “Look into the eyes of these people. They have no nerves for the rest of my life.” After some time, entered execution in gas chambers and mass executions turned over to the guards and executioners from collaborators.

the Educational process and distribution

the Training of Travnikova was carried out by the SS division “Dead head”, which had experience of life in Buchenwald, Dachau and other concentration camps. The perfect student was supposed to be unconditionally loyal to the system and trained fiziCesky. The majority of Travnikova before the war was drivers, electricians, cooks, peasants and farmers. Higher education had almost none, at best they have finished school or vocational school.

the Training center lasted about six months and included courses escort, the protection of facilities, recruitment of informants, firing, drill and physical training.

the Numerical strength of the herbalists were divided into two battalions, each of which, in turn, was formed from 5-8 mouth. The company commanders were Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans). Then came the platoons and divisions with their commanders. The lowest rank among the students was “Wachmann” (guard).

completion of Travnikova distributed in the camps. Usually at each camp were sent 80-100 people. They were placed at the disposal of the German leaders. The tasks of Travnikova included perimeter security, the distribution of prisoners arrived at the barracks, send to the gas chambers, executions. As stated in testimony, the people were warned that everything that they learn in the service process, they are obliged to remain silent. For insubordination and failure to comply with orders of the camp administration of Bahmanov waiting for execution. On the spot were shot and those graduates of herbalists who were trying to flee, realizing the horror of where they were. Such a fate befell two Bahmanov Sobibor.

Security had the ability to mock the prisoners, provoke them to shoot and be shot for the murder of a fugitive Wachmann was given a prize. On account of many of Travnikova was personally executed hundreds of people.

to Avoid participating in executions was impossible. As stated in the testimony of one of the defendants, “all Bahmani directly participated in the mass extermination of people delivered to the camp.” Distribution of responsibilities among Travnikova was not, the service tasks performed the same way.

For a good service some Travnikova received at the end of the war the German citizenship. However, after the surrender of Germany they were issued by the Soviet Union.


When in the last months of hostilities, Travnikova understand that participation in mass executions and in concentration camps they face execution, many of them tried to impersonate forcibly deported to Germany of workers from the Eastern territories, prisoners, prisoners of war. Part urgently joined the partisans in Yugoslavia and France. One former Travnikova, I. Dorofeev, believed that month of service with the guerrillas, will help to mitigate the punishment. “Please note that served in the SS until April 1945. Then more punitive does not serve and went to the partisans of Yugoslavia”, he said.

Some of them managed to fool the check, hiding under other names or pretty “whitewash” themselves. But the search and identification of disappeared Travnikova continued for decades after the war. Some collaborators of the Nazis, arguing that the case will be closed for Statute of limitations out-of reckless conduct yourself.

For the years 1944-1987 in the USSR took place more than 140 trials. The decision of the court most of the defendants were shot. The most high-profile trial was the trial of Feodor Fedorenko, a former Treblinka womancom. He several decades hiding in the United States, became a citizen of this country and could peacefully live out their lives. However, in 1974, he decided that he was no longer in danger, went with a tour group in Crimea, home. There he was identified. Investigation and several lawsuits took almost a decade. In 1984, he was extradited to the USSR, where was later executed.

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