Dr. Julian Chorążycki (1893 – April 19, 1943) was a Jewish captain in the Polish Army before World War II; a professional physician from Warsaw. He became the first leader and secret organizer of the perilous prisoner uprising at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust in Poland. After the long period of preparation posing an immediate threat to life, on August 2, 1943 an armed revolt in Treblinka erupted, however, Chorążycki (improperly, Chorazyski) – a 50-year-old throat surgeon from the capital – committed suicide on April 19, 1943 when faced with imminent capture, to avoid revealing details of the uprising and its participants under torture.
Little is known about him from before the extermination of Jews in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany. At the camp, Chorążycki was put in charge of a small infirmary for the SS (not to be mistaken with the fake infirmary called "lazaret" where the hands-on killing took place). He was a noble man, essential to taking action, wrote Samuel Rajzman. His Organizing Committee at the Treblinka Totenlager included Zelomir Bloch (leadership), Rudolf Masaryk, Marceli Galewski, Samuel Rajzman, Dr. Irena Lewkowska (sick bay), Leon Haberman, and several others. Chorążycki collected a large lump-sum of hard cash from the Goldjuden commando with the intention of bribing a Trawniki guard he thought he had befriended. Instead, he was ambushed at work with the money by Untersturmführer Franz and swallowed a deadly poison before he could be arrested. Chorążycki was replaced in the Underground by Dr. Berek Lajcher from Wegrów (also a former Polish Army officer, who arrived at Treblinka on May 1). Lajcher (improperly, Lecher) launched the uprising on a hot summer day when a group of Germans and Ukrainians drove off to the Bug river for a swim.
On August 2 (Monday, a day of rest from gassing), the door to the arsenal near the train tracks was silently unlocked by the Jews and some 20-25 rifles, 20 hand grenades, and several pistols were stolen and delivered in a cart to the gravel work-detail. At 3:45 p.m. some 700 Jewish prisoners launched the attack on the gates. They sprayed gasoline on all the buildings and set them ablaze. Several buildings were blown up. However, the machine gun fire from the well-trained Germans (some 25 of them) and Ukrainian Trawnikis (numbering around 60) resulted in near slaughter. Most prisoners perished. Only 150–200 Jews succeeded in crossing over to the other side. Half of those were killed after a chase. Some of those who escaped successfully were transported across the river by the partisans of the Armia Krajowa hiding in the surrounding forest. Only approximately 70 Jews are known to have survived until the end of the war, including future authors of published Treblinka memoirs: Jankiel Wiernik, Chil Rajchman, Richard Glazar, and Samuel Willenberg. There was also a revolt at Sobibor two months later.
Notes and references
- Samuel Rajzman, Treblinka survivor (March 10, 2009). "Uprising in Treblinka". [in] U.S. Congress. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Punishment of war criminals, 120-125. 79th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1945. Holocaust History.org. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (2013). Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and a Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other. Potomac Books. pp. 60–61. ISBN 1612345697. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Edward Kopówka, Paweł Rytel-Andrianik (2011). "Treblinka II – Obóz zagłady" [Treblinka II – Death camp] (PDF file, direct download 15.1 MB). Dam im imię na wieki (I will give them an everlasting name. Isaiah 56:5) (in Polish). Drohiczyńskie Towarzystwo Naukowe. pp. 74, 77–82, 97–99. ISBN 978-83-7257-496-1. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Maranda, Michał (2002). "Więźniowie obozu zagłady w Treblince" [Prisoners of Treblinka death camp] (PDF). Nazistowskie Obozy Zagłady. Opis i próba analizy zjawiska (Nazi extermination camps. Analysis) (in Polish). Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Stosowanych Nauk Społecznych (Warsaw University Institute of Social Sciences). pp. 160–161. ISBN 83-915036-6-6. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Yitzhak Arad (1999). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Indiana University Press. pp. 360–361. ISBN 0253213053. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Jerzy Śląski (1990). "VII. Pod Gwiazdą Dawida" (PDF). Polska Walcząca (in Polish). PAX Warszawa Wydanie II. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Adam Easton (4 August 2013), Treblinka survivor recalls suffering and resistance. BBC News, Treblinka, Poland.
- H.E.A.R.T (varied authors) (2010). "Alphabetical Listing of [better known] Treblinka Survivors and Victims". Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. Retrieved 30 August 2013.