Belzec - Monetary Gains
Gold teeth and dental work were extracted from victims’
mouth by the death brigade in Belzec Death Camp
- The process of extermination of the Jewish population involved different people and different organizations. All the personnel involved directly with the victims had direct access to their valuables and belongings.
- The leaders of the SS wanted to maintain full control over the loot and in September 1942 the main office of the SS issued an order designating the proper procedure by which all valuables and belongings should be confiscated.
- According to this order all money, bank notes, jewelry and foreign currency should be deposited in an SS designated account in the Reichsbank. All personal articles like watches, pens, scissors etc. should be transferred to the troops.
- Prisoners in concentration camps should utilize most of the victims’ clothing but some would be transferred to the SS Volksdeutsche department.
- Transfer bedding articles like sheets, pillowcases, towels etc. to the SS Volksdeutsche department.
- This order also set prices for clothing and bedding articles to be collected from the Volksdeutsche department or other purchasers.
In February 1943 Oswald Pohl from the Economic Ministry of the Reich, reported the following items received by his ministry in the year 1942. These items were collected from victims of Operation Reinhard as well as from Auschwitz, however during that year the majority of the killing was done in Operation Reinhard’s death camp therefore this report reflect mainly items of the victims from the General Government. The report indicated the following items:
Victims took off their shoes and piled them up
before they were processed for gassing in Belzec
- 72,000 tons of rags, 270 tons of duvet
- 262,000 men’s and women’s outfits
- 3 tons of women’s hair. In regard to that I would like to mention that shearing of women’s hair started only in September, October 1942 therefore this amount does not reflect the amount of women who were killed in Operation Reinhard.
- All the above items were transported by 570 freight cars.
- In addition to that the SS Volksdeutsche department received 211 freight cars of men’s women’s and children’s clothing.
In spite of the strict orders in regard to the process of confiscation of Jewish valuables and belongings not all the mentioned items made it to the designated authorities and organizations.
- Within the Operation Reinhard’s personnel there were members who considered themselves as members of other organizations. Practically all the German personnel who served in the death camps were prior to that, members of the Euthanasia Program. They all kept their links with this organization and kept receiving benefits from it. It was no surprise when Dr. Eberl the commander of Treblinka transferred large sums of money to the main office of the Euthanasia Program in Berlin.
- In addition to that there was wide scale corruption among the Operation Reinhard’s personnel. SS officers were filling suitcases with expensive goods and valuables and taking them with them on their way home when they were off duty. The Ukrainians were stealing furs and jewelry and selling them for drinks. A small-scale economy started to develop in the close vicinity to the death camp. A certain type of population moved into these villages in order to benefit from the sudden prosperity. In wartime when everyone was struggling to survive the villages near the death camps showed signs of expansion.
- The Nazi authorities suspected that Globocnik did not deliver the entire amount of goods and valuables. He was asked to report about the economical gains of his operation. In January 1944, Globocnik who served in Italy at that time submitted his report to the SS main office. In this report Globocnik listed the following:
- 74 million German marks
- 3 tons of gold bars
- 19 tons of silver bars
- and 16,000 diamonds carats.