Belzec Death Camp 

Photos of Memorial Site, taken by Bonnie M. Harris, July 2006

Path around former camp has names of cities where victims lived

The memorial path that completely encircles the entire site bears the names of all the communities of the Jewish victims that were murdered at Belzec. The path is shown in the photo above.

Bonnie Harris took these pictures during her research travels to Holocaust sites in July 2006 in the company of an excellent guide from Lublin named Slawomir Nowodworski, who can be contacted at this e-mail address:

View of the former Belzec camp that has been turned into a Memorial

Between 1997 and 1999, a team of archeologists from Nicolas Copernicus University of Torun, led by Professor Andrzej Kola, drilled down into the earth at Belzec and found the locations of 33 mass graves. In the photo above, the darkly colored areas of the concrete rubble field demarcate the locations of these mass graves.

The remains of thousands of unburned bodies were found. Out of respect for the dead, the graves were not opened and the bodies were not exhumed, so no identification was made, but according to the USHMM, these were the bodies of the Jews who were forced to dig up the mass graves at Belzec and burn the bodies on pyres, such as the reconstructed pyre shown in the photo below.

Reconstructed pyre built near entrance

In the area of the rail ramps where the train cars stopped to unload their human cargo, stands a memorial shown in the photo above. It is fashioned after the pyres that were constructed for the burning of the corpses from the mass graves.

A book by archeologist Professor Andrzej Kola, entitled "The Nazi Camp for Jews in the Light of Archaeological Sources: Excavations 1997-1999," includes the following words in the Forward of the book, written in November 2000 by Miles Lerman, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council:

For several years now, the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, have been working on the new memorial in Belzec. It is the wish of both parties to find a befitting medium of commemoration. The new memory site should not only pay homage the thousands of victims, but also teach about the tragedy that took place here.

In 1997, the jurors of the competition for the Belzec memorial selected the work proposed by a team of artists led by Andrzej Solyga. In the selected project, the entire area of the camp becomes the memorial. The artists are of the opinion that the most appropriate way of commemorating the victims is to honour the earth that harbours their ashes. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a more meaningful symbol. For its message, it was necessary to conduct archaeological research in order to thoroughly examine the topography of the former camp, so as to exclude areas with human remnants. So that we, in commemorating, do not violate the memory of those whom we want to commemorate.

Commissioned by the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom, with substantial contribution on the part of its staff, headed by the Council's Secretary General Andrzej Przewóznik, a series of archaeological surveys was conducted during the past three years. This publication presents the survey's findings. Credit should be given to a team of archaeologists from the University of Torun, led by Professor Andrzej Kola, for their professionalism and commitment. Archaeological works carried out on a site like Belzec required particular involvement, accuracy and resistance to stress. Professor Kola's team had all these features and earned the gratitude of all those who cherish the memory of the Holocaust victims.

View from the entrance with the reconstructed pyre on the left

Words written by one of the victims inside a freight car

Just to the right of the entrance to the memorial is the museum that houses artifacts from the camp and a history of the Belzec death camp.

Museum at Belzec

Museum exhibits tell the story of Belzec


More information about Belzec - External link