I wanted to go to Belzec (pronounced Biwzhets) because no one really does. One million Jews died there in the span of nine months - and hardly anyone knows about it. I felt it was a pilgrimage to a holy site: the second largest (after Treblinka) Jewish graveyard in history.
Mike Tregenza was my guide. He is a non-Jewish, English historian who lectures at Lublin university. According to Sir Martin Gilbert, he is the world expert on Belzec.
Of all the camps in the Holocaust, Belzec was the most deadly. If a person went there, he was not coming back. There are Auschwitz survivors, Mathausen survivors, even Treblinka and Sobibor survivors. One will never meet a Belzec survivor. As such, relatively little is known of what went on inside the camp. Mike, though, with extensive research, can piece together a picture.
The turnover time for getting 3,000 human beings to ashes was about 2-3 hours. It took a little more time to sort the clothes and valuables, clean the trains and send them back loaded with goodies. Six thousand a day was probably its maximum capacity. More