- (Photo: REUTERS / Peter Andrews)
A team of forensic archaeologists have reportedly discovered new evidence pointing to Treblinka, a Nazi death camp in eastern Poland where 900,000 people disappeared, going against claims by Holocaust deniers who say that the location was only a transit camp.
The findings are set to air on the Smithsonian Channel in a program called "Treblinka: Hitler's killing machine," on March 29, which is part of a special month-long programming block celebrating Women's History Month.
Described as "one of the most notorious cold cases of World War II," rare documents and eyewitness have long claimed that the camp where 900,000 Jewish people were transported was even more ruthless than the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. While not much evidence for this claim existed until now, Smithsonian says that the British forensic team of Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls has found new "significant and chilling" evidence to expose the true story behind Treblinka.
"Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls and her team discovered three previously unidentified mass graves at Treblinka 1, which some thought had only been a labor camp. They also pinpointed the location of a gas chamber and other physical structures at Treblinka 2, the main extermination camp," a press release states.
"The team uncovered human remains, personal artifacts and pieces of tile with the Jewish star imprint which match eyewitness descriptions of a gas chamber that had been designed to look like a bathhouse. She also reinforces her suspicions that the death camp was even larger than previously thought."
The discoveries are part of a six-year endeavor to answer questions lingering on from World War II. Permission was needed from both Polish and Jewish authorities to gain access to conduct digs at the site. Jewish law previously prohibited such efforts, as it would disturb human remains.
Smithsonian notes that in 1943 the Nazis attempted to eradicate the evidence behind Treblinka by leveling the earth, destroying structures, and building a farmhouse on top of the location. Sturdy Colls used cutting-edge aerial photography called LIDAR, however, to identify faint imprints in the ground leading to the original foundations of the death camp.
An estimated 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust under the leadership of Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler, though some countries, such as Iran, dispute the extent of the massacre.
In September 2013, Iran criticized CNN for incorrectly translating a quote from President Hassan Rouhani in an interview that made him sound like he believes the Holocaust took place.