The concentration camp was hastily established in 1941. At that time, Adolf Hitler ordered to carry out an operation called the "Operation Reinhardt". The aim was to liquidate Jews and gypsies in Poland, and preferably those who were in high positions or were wealthy. A part of the plan was the construction of the camp, and it was put into operation in a short time, in 1942. The first prisoners were deported to the camp in May 1942 already.
Belżec Concentration Camp was one of the first Nazi concentration camps where gas chambers were tested. According to period documents, only 100 people were needed to operate the whole complex, of which some employees were political prisoners from Russia. More than 500,000 people were murdered until December 1942 . The first gas chambers were constructed of wood. The second version of the gas chambers looked like an ordinary shower. The "efficiency" was much higher so during several months the Nazi murdered hundreds of thousands of people. For the removal of dead bodies from the gas chambers the Nazis would use about 500 prisoners, who were also murdered after a few weeks, and new ones were employed. The operation of the Belżec Concentration Camp was stopped in December 1942 due to lack of space for dead bodies.
Admission to the former extermination camp is free. From April to October it is open untill 6 p.m. every day. Other months around the year it closes at 4 a.m.