Richard Wolfgang Thomalla
Official portrait c. 1940
|Born||23 October 1903|
Annahof, German Empire
|Died||12 May 1945 (aged 41)|
|Years of service||1932–1945|
|Commands held||Headed construction of Bełżec, Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps during Operation Reinhard|
Richard Thomalla pron. (23 October 1903 – 12 May 1945) was an SS commander of Nazi Germany. A civil engineer by profession, he was head of the SS Central Building Administration at Lublin reservation in occupied Poland. Thomalla was in charge of construction for the Operation Reinhard death camps Bełżec, Sobibor and Treblinka during the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland.
Born in Annahof in the former Upper Silesia region of the German Empire (now, the village of Sowin, Opole Voivodeship, Poland). Thomalla became a member of the Nazi Party in 1932: (no. 1,238,872) and SS (no. 41,206).
The first death camp to be constructed under Thomalla's supervision was Bełżec. Construction started on 1 November 1941 and was completed in March 1942. He then proceeded to design and supervise the construction of Sobibor in March 1942. Workers employed for building the camp were local people from neighboring villages and towns. During this preliminary stage, Thomalla served as the head of the Sonderkommando at Sobibor. The Sonderkommando consisted of about eighty Jews from ghettos within the vicinity of the camp, brought to Sobibor for slave-labor construction work. A squad of ten Ukrainians trained at Trawniki concentration camp guarded the Sonderkommando. Upon completion of the camp, these Jews were shot. When Thomalla completed his building assignment in Sobibor he was replaced there by Franz Stangl in April 1942. He then proceeded to Treblinka which copied the design of Sobibor.
I and Hengs – euthanasia man – went to Treblinka by car. SS-Hauptsturmführer Richard Thomalla was the camp commander. The Treblinka camp was still in the process of construction. Thomalla was in Treblinka for about four to eight weeks. I was attached to a building team there. Thomalla was there for a limited time only and conducted the construction work of the extermination camp. During that time no extermination actions were carried out. Then Dr. Eberl arrived as camp commander. Under his direction the extermination Aktionen of the Jews began. — Erwin Lambert 
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