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Sobibór, Polska



 


Notes: Sobibór was a Nazi German extermination camp that was part of Operation Reinhard, the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor. It is also the name of the village outside which the camp was built, which is now part of Lublin Voivodship in Poland.
The Jews, including Jewish Soviet POWs, and possibly Gypsies were transported to Sobibór by rail, and suffocated in gas chambers that were fed with the exhaust of a petrol engine. At least 250,000 people were killed in Sobibór. A memorial and museum are at the site today.
The camp
In May of 1942, Sobibor began gassing operations. Trains entered the railway station, and the Jews onboard were told they were in a transit camp, and were forced to undress and hand over their valuables. They were then led into the "Road to Heaven" which led to the gas chambers, where they were killed using the carbon monoxide released from the exhaust pipes of tanks.
SS-Oberscharführer Kurt Bolender described the way the gassing operations ran during his trial:
Before the Jews undressed, Oberscharführer Hermann Michel made a speech to them. On these occasions, he used to wear a white coat to give the impression he was a physician. Michel announced to the Jews that they would be sent to work. But before this they would have to take baths and undergo disinfection, so as to prevent the spread of diseases. After undressing, the Jews were taken through the "Tube", by an SS man leading the way, with five or six Ukrainians at the back hastening the Jews along. After the Jews entered the gas chambers, the Ukrainians closed the doors. The motor was switched on by the Ukrainian Emil Kostenko and by the German driver Erich Bauer from Berlin. After the gassing, the doors were opened and the corpses were removed by a group of Jewish workers.
The victims were mostly Jews, from Poland (especially Lublin and eastern Galicia - 145,000-150,000), the Czech Republic and Slovakia (31,000), Germany and Austria (10,000), France (4,000), Lithuania (14,000), and the Netherlands (34,313).
Dutch victims included 18-year-old Helga Deen, whose diary was discovered in 2004, and 14-year-old Ilse Wagner, a close friend of diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Although official estimates put the number of dead around 250,000, survivors from the camps like Esther Raab (whose life is dramatized in Richard Raschke's play, "Dear Esther") recall the Nazi celebration for the death of the millionth Sobibor Jew.
The camp was split into four sections:
Garrison Area: This included the main entrance gates and the railway platform where the victims were taken off the trains. The Commander's lodge was opposite the platform and was on the right side to the Guardhouse and on the left by the armoury.
Lager (Camp) 1: This was built directly west and behind the Garrison Area. It was made escape proof by extra barbed wire fences and a deep trench filled with water. The only opening was a gate leading into the area. This camp was the living barracks for Jewish prisoners and included a prisoner's kitchen. Each prisoner was given about 12 square feet (1.1 square meters) of sleeping space.
Lager (Camp) 2: This was a larger section and included an assortment of vital services for both the killing process and the everyday operation of the camp. Laboured by 400 prisoners, including women, Lager 2 contained the warehouses used for storing the objects taken from the dead victims, including hair, clothes, food, gold and all other valuables. This Lager also housed the main administration office. It was at Lager II that the Jews were prepared for their death. Here they undressed, women's hair was shaved, clothing searched and sorted and documents destroyed in the nearby furnace. The victim's final steps were taken on path framed by barbed wire. It was called Heavenly Way and led directly to the gas chambers.
Lager (Camp) 3: This was where the victims met their end. Located in the north-western part of the camp, there were only two ways to enter the camp from Lager II. The camp staff and personnel entered through a small plain gate. The entrance for the victims descended immediately into the gas chambers was decorated with flowers and a Star of David.
Camp guards included Ukrainians trained at Trawniki. Though it has never been conclusively proven, it was alleged that John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, worked as a watchguard at Sobibor.
The rebellion
Sobibór was the site of one of two successful rebellions by Jewish prisoners in a Nazi extermination camp — there was a similar revolt at Treblinka on 2 August 1943. A revolt at Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944 which led to two of the crematoria being blown up was unsuccessful and all the escapees were killed.
On October 14, 1943, members of the Sobibór underground, led by POW Alexander Pechersky, succeeded in covertly killing eleven German SS officers and a number of Ukrainian guards. Although their plan was to kill all the SS and walk out of the main gate of the camp, the killings were discovered and the inmates ran for their lives under fire. About half of the 600 prisoners in the camp escaped. Only about 50 escapees survived the war, however. Some died on the mine fields surrounding the site, and some were recaptured and shot by the Germans in the next few days, but survivors' accounts also indicate that many of the escapees were killed by the Polish underground and civilians, including a massacre of ten former prisoners on or about 17 October 1943 in the forest to the south west of the camp. Many of those that did survive were hidden from the Germans by other Poles, at the risk of their own lives.
The revolt was dramatized in the 1987 TV movie Escape from Sobibor. An award-winning documentary about the escape was made by Claude Lanzmann, entitled Sobibor, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures. (The English title was Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 p.m.)
Aftermath
Within days SS chief Himmler ordered the camp closed, dismantled and planted with trees.
Franz Stangl, commandant of Sobibór and later of Treblinka fled to Syria with the aid of a priest in the Vatican who supplied money, a red cross passport and arranged work for him. Following problems with his employer taking too much interest in his adolescent daughter, Stangl went to Brazil in the 1950s. He worked in a car factory and was registered with the Austrian consulate under his own name. He was eventually caught, arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1971 he died in prison in Düsseldorf a few hours after concluding a series of interviews with British historian Gitta Sereny.
Gustav Wagner, the deputy Sobibór commander was arrested in 1978 in Brazil. He was identified by Sobibor escapee Solomon Szmajzner who greeted him with the words "Hallo Gustl"; Wagner replied that he remembered Szmajzer and that he had saved him and his three brothers. The court of first instance agreed to his extradition to Germany but on appeal this extradition was overturned. In 1980 he committed suicide. Coming only a short time after his release and somewhat suspicious photographs has led many to suggest that he may have been killed. Wagner was on leave on 14 October 1943 and survivors such as Tom Blatt say that the revolt would not have succeeded had he been present.
Memorial
Following the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the revolt in 2003, the grounds of the former death camp received a grant largely funded by the Dutch government to improve the site. New walk ways were introduced with signs indicating points of interest but close to the burial pits, bone fragments still litter the area. In the forest outside the camp is a statue honoring the valiant fighters of Sobibor.
Visitors to the camp need to be warned that the forest is infested with mosquitos and are advised to wear suitable repellent before getting out of the car.
References
* From the Ashes of Sobibor by Thomas Blatt
* Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka by Yitzak Ahrad

OpenStreetMap

City/Town : Latitude: 51.447222, Longitude: 23.593611


Died

Matches 1 to 50 of 401

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   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Died    Person ID 
1 Abas, Aaron  14 May 1943Sobibór, Polska I88723
2 Abas, Abraham  09 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88476
3 Abas, Abraham  02 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88724
4 Abas, Alfred  30 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88725
5 Abas, Anna Rachel  28 May 1943Sobibór, Polska I88726
6 Abas, Aron  02 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88727
7 Abas, Benjamin Samson  10 Sep 1942Sobibór, Polska I88675
8 Abas, Elisabeth  13 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I88659
9 Abas, Isaac  23 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88550
10 Abas, Jacob  02 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88583
11 Abas, Joseph Hans  02 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I89089
12 Abas, Leo Harry  Yes, date unknownSobibór, Polska I88663
13 Abas, Louis Joseph  07 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88734
14 Abas, Nathan  21 May 1943Sobibór, Polska I88542
15 Abas, Nathan  1945Sobibór, Polska I88502
16 Abas, Pierre  27 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88740
17 Abas, Pierre  30 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88647
18 Abas, Rachel  09 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88941
19 Abas, Rose  04 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I89132
20 Abas, Rudolf  30 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88744
21 Abas, Salomon  10 Sep 1942Sobibór, Polska I88747
22 Abas, Salomon  23 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88745
23 Abas, Salomon  02 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88494
24 Abas, Salomon Asher  09 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88942
25 Abas, Sara  02 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I88635
26 Abas, Willy  30 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88749
27 Aleng, Betsij  04 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I257487
28 d' Ancona, David Salomon  05 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I441086
29 d' Ancona, Eva Henriette  04 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I82532
30 d' Ancona, Salomon  04 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I82531
31 d' Ancona, Sara  04 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I82533
32 Anholt, Duifje  09 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I393929
33 den Arend, Hester  05 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I89231
34 van Baale, Rebecca Reijntje  23 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I88894
35 Bamberger, Abraham  30 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I539397
36 Bamberger, Izaak  20 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I539398
37 Bamberger, Judikje  02 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I539177
38 Bamberger, Sina  20 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I539174
39 Bamberger, Sophia  23 Jul 1943Sobibór, Polska I539257
40 Bargeboer, Jantje  13 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I36968
41 Bargeboer, Levie  26 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I538950
42 Beekman, Joseph  05 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I119057
43 de Beer, Benjamin  28 May 1943Sobibór, Polska I53244
44 van Beetz, Schoontje  1943Sobibór, Polska I511978
45 Bekkers, Esther  11 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I53752
46 Belinfante, Aaron  02 Jan 1943Sobibór, Polska I82526
47 Belinfante, Abigael  05 Mar 1943Sobibór, Polska I119048
48 Belinfante, Abraham  11 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I119968
49 Belinfante, Arnold Richard  23 Apr 1943Sobibór, Polska I118965
50 Belinfante, Aron  11 Jun 1943Sobibór, Polska I118979

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Fact

Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Fact    Person ID 
1 Zilverberg, Simon Maurits  Sobibór, Polska I53716

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