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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 13Focusing on the Holocaust and its Aftermath$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774600

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774600.001.0001

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(p.268) Bełżec
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 13

Rudolf Reder

Liverpool University Press

This chapter looks at the testimony of Rudolf Reder, a survivor of Bełżec death camp. Bełżec murder camp was the first camp set up by Aktion Reinhard, an operation whose purpose was to dispose, in the least obtrusive manner, of the Jewish population of the General Government and adjacent countries under Nazi rule. Into this camp, Rudolf Reder was brought with one of the first transports of Jews from Lemberg caught during the great Aktion. Reder arrived in Bełżec at the height of the camp's activity. Because of his position as odd-job man, he was allowed considerable freedom of movement. He was therefore able to describe the camp, its installations, and its functioning in considerable detail. But his story is also the deeply harrowing account of someone who witnessed with horror the slaughter of innocents which went on day after day. And this, together with the relevant details which, without his description, might have remained forever obscure, make Reder's booklet, Bełżec (1946), a unique document of this terrible but little-known chapter in the history of the Holocaust.

Keywords:   Rudolf Reder, Bełżec death camp, Aktion Reinhard, Jewish population, General Government, Nazi rule, Jews, Holocaust

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