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Surveyors from WUT in Search for the Secrets of Treblinka

When the Nazis left the extermination camp in Treblinka, they made every effort so that no one would find out what had happened there. They razed the camp buildings and planted lupine. Today, our knowledge about the events in Treblinka is increasingly richer, thanks to, among others, scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology.

The team, led by Sebastian Różycki, PhD (Eng.) from the Faculty of Geodesy and Cartography of the Warsaw University of Technology, decided to take advantage of archival and current spatial data to study the labour camp in Treblinka.

“A few years ago, I noticed that no one in Poland uses aerial photos made during WWII”, says Sebastian Różycki, PhD (Eng.). “So, I decided to use these sources in my work”.

In his scientific career, Dr Różycki first searched for unexploded ordnances and duds using aerial photos. About five years ago, he began using this method to search for mass graves. The Rabbinical Commission for Cemeteries took interest in his ideas. Since Jewish law prohibits disturbing burial sites, archaeological studies at extermination camps or Jewish cemeteries are practically impossible. Using Spatial Information Systems, archival aerial photos and non-destructive examinations turned out to be a great solution for this purpose.

Collaboration with the Museum in Treblinka began approximately 4 years ago, when Dr Różycki and historian Marek Michalski presented their ideas to Edward Kopówka, PhD, the Museum director. “Even though we believed that archaeologists and other scientists have thoroughly examined this topic during the past 70 years since the end of WWII, it turned out that there is still much to discover in Treblinka”, explains Dr Różycki. “There was no confirmed information e.g. concerning the area of the labour camp”.

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WUT'S researchers work on a range of scientific topics which are explored in different areas and on a different scale. Often the outcome of these helps with the development of new technologies or everyday products to come into being.

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