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Treblinka

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,318 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Nearly a million Jews were consumed by the ovens of Treblinka before August 2, 1943. On that day 600 prisoners armed with stolen guns and grenades attacked the Nazi guards, burned the camp, and fled into the nearby Polish forests. Of these, forty survived to bear witness to man's courage in the face of the greatest evil human history has produced. ...more
Paperback, 415 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Plume (first published January 1st 1966)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  2,318 ratings  ·  89 reviews


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Steven Godin

Up there with the best Holocaust books ever written, with the last 50 pages or so being quite simply unforgettable. Rather than detail the harrowing ordeal of Treblinka's nearly one million Jew victims (at one point capacity was up to 2600 deaths every half an hour), Steiner focuses more on the chilling technical and organizational side of Treblinka, and in honor of the brave prisoners involved in the revolt he writes with an affirmation of life over death. Ok, so it doesn't have the emotionally
...more
Matt
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's hard to know what this book is. It reads like a novel, with internal thoughts and great swaths of dialogue. However, it is presented as a history, though it lacks bibliography and notes. Perhaps it's in the mold of Keneally's Schindler's List, which told a true story but was labeled a novel.

It doesn't really matter, in the end. For Treblinka is an incredibly powerful, harrowing book; whether it is true, or only based on the truth, it tells an overwhelming story. More than that, in its very
...more
Tim
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Treblinka purports to be a non fiction book but actually reads like a novel. Half of it consists of dialogue which obviously is all invented. That said, Steiner is a very good writer and the novelistic form certainly serves to crank up the tension. I've since read that his book has been dismissed as fiction by at least one survivor of the events he describes. Therefore, it's a hard book to rate. In his favour he did interview an awful lot of people involved. And reading about the Warsaw Ghetto u ...more
Czarny Pies
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: A classic of the holocaust
Recommended to Czarny by: Mes parents l'ont achete.
Shelves: european-history
I read this history of the successful revolt in 1943 by members Treblinka's sonderkommando (i.e. a work unit comprised of Jews) shortly after it was published in 1966. Based on interviews with 40 of the survivors amongst the Treblinka rebels, this book gives a remarkable portrait of the daily work schedule and life inside a Nazi death camp that killed up to 5,000 in a single day. Certainly well done by any standards, I have never been as moved by anything that I have since read on the holocaust. ...more
Suzy
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is willing to stretch their view of the world
If you want to take a look at what it might really be like in a place of living hell, this book paints a very vivid picture. You are able to see the hardships and dehumanizing things that happened in the Treblika concentration camp as well as seeing the day to day workings of the camp. This book is stretching, overwhelming and haunting. It is not to be read lightly; however, I do think that it is important to really begin to try to understand the Holocaust and the people that were in the Holocau ...more
Bruno Gremez
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was written by Jean-Francois Steiner, whose father died in a concentration camp in Poland during World War II. The book relates the history of a concentration camp, Treblinka (Poland), where around 800.000 Jews died between July 1942 and October 1943. It describes the daily life (and horror) of the concentration camp and the way the camp was very cynically, efficiently (however inappropriate this word may sound in this context) managed by the Nazis, who terrorised the prisoners in such ...more
Eva Marie
It never fails to amaze me that after all I've read on tis period in history I can still be shocked. This is shocked. I've read other Holocaust stories that mention the Treblinka revolt but none have come anywhere near the detail this has. That alone is a reason this is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust.
I have a little trouble saying this because obviously I wasn't there and can hardly imagine any of the feelings, thoughts, etc. that would come with actually being there but I d
...more
Rebecca
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slim little paperback, less than 300 pages. Normally I could finish something like that in a matter of days, but this took me three weeks. I had to take each page a bit at a time, absorb it and reflect on it before taking on the next page. My world has been rocked by this book, my foundation shaken. I've read literally dozens of books on World War II, with special emphasis (I thought) on the Holocaust, but I have never come across this tory. That is a shame, a crime against the survivo ...more
stephanie
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it
and then i figured out why i hadn't read it before - a certain amount of historical fiction is involved. however, it does tell a story that should be heard. the riot in treblinka was incredible.

the thing that struck me most about the book, however, which was written in the early 60s, was how many times he set out to basically answer the question of why the jews went like lambs to the slaughter. when we are taught the holocaust now, we don't assume that they went complacently, we learn of all th
...more
Nuno R.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
One of the most damaging books I read in my early teenage years. What little I had from my childhood inocence was taken away as I read through the pages, silentely, at night. And I think I understood a little of the need to tell the story. It is hard to lose your inocence. To realize that humans are able to plan, carefully, the extinction of other humans. But you do have to know, and become an adult. Everyone has to know. We cannot afford to be ignorant. Because ignorance is the food of dictator ...more
Cathy
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most stunning most powerful books about the Holocaust that I've ever read. The book details the birth and death of the Treblinka death camp. Fascinating. Horrifying. There truly simply are no words. ...more
Shawn
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well. I'm tempted to let that be the totality of my review. Just "Well". Well, as in "Well, that was insanity"! Well, as in "I need to sit with that a moment". Well, as in "Now what"?
This reads like a novel. It is full of "supposed conversations" that threatened the credibility of the entire story, but somehow you never lose sight of the fact that it was the reality for hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Written in an "of the time" manner, it uses phrases like "took her as mistress", or "they were ke
...more
Melissa
This is the most disturbing book I have ever read. I have read through Game of Thrones and the Sword of Truth series with eager anticipation. I have watched CSI, Dexter, and the like. This book I couldn't read more than 5 pages without having to put it down. I suppose the difference is that THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. It is beyond words. When we think of the Holocaust, we think of all those poor people that died, but this book focuses on the people who LIVED in the concentration camps. There are not ...more
Alice
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-2
There are no words for books like these. I remember when i first picked it out thinking it would just be a restatement of the facts of Treblinka.

No. This book was more than just a memoir. IT was a reflection on how the concentration camp was more than just the continuous destruction of life, it was a cataclysm in the never-ending cycle of jewish belief. That their people group never gave up on life even faced with assured destruction and constant debasment and humiliation is so bewildering.
Tre
...more
Jennifer
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, wwii, holocaust
Non-fiction written to read as fiction...though the parts you hope are fiction are very much not.
This really was hell on earth.

What I found very interesting (in that cant look away b/c of the horror kind of 'interesting') was that Steiner explained how 'The Technicians' used psychology to trick the Jews into thinking there were choices, that there were options. When in actuality, all options led to the gas chambers.

Reading about Treblinka is some of the hardest Holocaust reading there is...but t
...more
Abigail G
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While the subject matter was extremely difficult to get through I am glad I read this book. It was beyond intense as the description were detailed. Half the time I wanted cry and never read another word yet the rest of the time I was fascinated by the people who kept going through all of it. They all had different methods but in the end the goal to stay alive won out. This book definately left me understand the tragedy of disvaluing human life. Every person is alive for a reason and it is such a ...more
Ginger Barker
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this book on my grandma’s bookshelf as I was walking out the door one day. Even though I teach history and WWII, I found this book and the story of Treblinka almost unbelievable. The author explains how the Jewish People where led like “sheep” to the slaughter and describes the depth of psychological warfare and the lengths the Germans went to in instilling a little hope to keep the prisoners subdued. Treblinka even had a fake train station built! If you’re a history nerd, this is a must ...more
Lord Zion
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A very different way of writing a biographical account of the holocaust, sometimes reading more like a novel than a historical account. Lots of prose which makes it very readable but, as a result, it is much harder to connect to the individuals therein.

It is very enjoyable - if that is a word that can be used about such a subject - but it isn't essential reading and not the book I would suggest to someone that wants a vivid account of hell on earth.
...more
Caitlin
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Fascinating. Unbelievable that out of the nearly 1 million gassed that the remaining 1000 were able to make it as far as they did in the revolt. Even though I knew there were survivors, I was still on the edge of my seat hoping that more would make it out alive. She said she changed the names, but Blumenthal is also the name of US senator? Hmm..
Angela Hobbs
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not all Jews went to the gas chamber without a fight. I'm surprised I never heard the story of the Jews who revolted against the SS in the concentration camp. The resistance leaders within the camp are heroes and definetely deserve recognition. I'm really surprised there isn't a movie about this. Good story. But sad like all these ones are. ...more
Steve Allison
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most memorable things I've ever read. I was 22 years old and learning about life. Very depressing. Did not realize human beings were capable of creating the awful conditions and mistreatment. ...more
Dean Fioresi
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Had to read this for class as a sort of follow-up to Night by Elie Wiesel. Thought was gripping and heart wrenching at the same time. One of the many stories of both death and survival from the Holocaust that are hard to believe. Not overly romanticized like some Holocaust literature either.
Kaska-Boom!
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is one of the most stunning most powerful books about the Holocaust that I've ever read. The book details the birth and death of the Treblinka death camp. Fascinating. Horrifying. There truly simply are no words.

...more
Gail Hedlund
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's amazing what can be done by a few who are willing to fight back, even when broken. Even more so when those who have broken them think they are weak. ...more
Carla
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you want to know the untold story of the first death camp this is the book.
Art
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing what took place here.
Had forgotten this story.
Had it confused w/Auschwitz.
Reveiling facts.
Detailed descriptions of how to make camp be more efficient at death.
Cherie
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very harrowing detail. Sometimes it overwhelms you, but yet you cannot stop reading it. Sometimes with anger, sometimes with tears, many times with both.
Tomi
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gave an excellent perspective on the Jewish reaction to the Holocaust. It is also more philosophical than many books about the camp system that I have read. It is very good. I had to stop periodically to digest what I had just read.
Scott Brooks
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aonarán
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anti-Facists, Anarchists, Holocaust, Nazism, Prisoners, Judaism
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Goodreads Librari...: Summary is Incorrect 3 18 Jun 09, 2014 05:38PM  

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Jean-François Steiner est né le 17 février 1938 dans la région parisienne. Son père, israélite, est mort en déportation. Sa mère, catholique soucieuse de donner à ses enfants l'éducation que leur aurait souhaitée leur père, s'est remariée avec un médecin israélite. Après des études classiques au lycée Louis-le-Grand, Jean-François Steiner passe un an et demi en Israël. Il a alors dix-sept ans, déc ...more

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