Reinhard was the largest single massacre action of the
Holocaust and lasted twenty-one months, from March
1942 to November 1943, carried out by the Nazi
extermination machine. It was a substantial part of
the overall plan for the Final Solution of the
Jewish Problem - the Germans’ plan to physically
liquidate all Jews of Europe.
Built in March 1942 as a part of Aktion Reinhard in
the General Government in Poland Sobibor operated from May 1942
until October 1943 for only one purpose: to kill as
many Jews including children as quickly as possible.
No selections were made for work or death - victims
were brought to the camp in cattle cars and all but a
handful were gassed immediately after arrival.
Sign for the
train station at Sobibor
USHMM Photo Archives
It was built
during World War II near
the small village of Sobibòr in the eastern sector of
the Lublin district, close to a railroad line, far
away from the civilized world and completely out of
sight, highly secret and extremely deadly.
Sobibor's gas chambers killed an approximate total of
260,000 Jews during the Holocaust, including some 35,000 Dutch Jews,
originally assigned to Auschwitz. Most came from Poland and from the
occupied areas of the Soviet Union and Western Europe.
revolt of the Jewish prisoners on October 14, 1943,
put an end to the Sobibor camp. Only
a few - about 60 - managed to survive and give evidence of the
existence of Sobibor.
The deathcamp was evacuated in
the fall of 1943, the killing installations were
the terrain of the former extermination camp
was ploughed up, trees were planted, and
peaceful-looking farm steads constructed. No traces
whatsoever were to remain which might bear witness to
the atrocities committed in Sobibor ..