Oberscharfuehrer Erich Bauer testified to the gassing
procedure at the Sobibor camp, where he served from
April 1942 to November 1943:
3 or 4 times I also led certain groups through the
tube to the gas chambers.
After all no member of the permanent staff in
Sobibor could exempt himself over the course of time
from having to perform this and all other functions
occuring during the destruction process.
may sound astonishing that the Jews went unsuspecting
to their death.
Resistance occurred extremely seldom.
The Jews only became suspicious when they were
already in the gas chambers.
At this point in time, however, there was no
The chambers were densely packed. .. The doors
were sealed airtight and immediately the gassing
After some 20-30 minutes there was complete
silence in the gas chambers;
the people were gassed and dead.
Then the chambers were opened, work Jews
dragged the people who had been killed out of the gas
chambers and transported the victims by means of lorry
to the graves.
Later the victims were cremated.
of SS-Unterscharfuehrer Erich Fuchs, in the
Sobibor-Bolender trial, Dusseldorf:
unloaded the motor. It was a heavy Russian benzine
engine, at least 200 horsepower. we installed the
engine on a concrete foundation and set up the
connection between the exhaust and the tube. I then
tested the motor. It did not work. I was able to
repair the ignition and the valves, and the motor
finally started running. The chemist, who I knew from
Belzec, entered the gas chamber with measuring
instruments to test the concentration of the gas.
Following this, a gassing experiment was carried out.
my memory serves me right, about thirty to forty women
were gassed in one gas chamber. The Jewish women were
forced to undress in an open place close to the gas
chamber, and were driven into the gas chamber by the
above mentioned SS members and the Ukrainian
auxiliaries. when the women were shut up in the gas
chamber I and Bolender set the motor in motion. The
motor functioned first in neutral. Both of us stood by
the motor and switched from "Neutral" (Freiauspuff)
to "Cell" (Zelle), so that the gas was
conveyed to the chamber. At the suggestion of the
chemist, I fixed the motor on a definite speed so that
it was unnecessary henceforth to press on the gas.
About ten minutes later the thirty to forty women were
of SS-Oberscharfuehrer Kurt Bolender:
the Jews undressed, Oberscharfuehrer Michel made a
speech to them. On these occasions, he used to wear a
white coat to give the impression that 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 so-called Schlauch.
They were led to the gas chambers not by the Germans
but by the Ukrainians ... After the Jews entered the
gas chambers, the Ukrainians closed the doors. The
motor which supplied the gas was switched on by a
Ukrainian named Emil and by a German driver called
Erich Bauer from Berlin. After the gassing, the door
were opened and the corpses removed ...
of SS-Unterscharfuehrer Herman Lambert:
I mentioned at the beginning, I was in the
extermination camp of the Jews for about two to three
weeks. It was sometime in autumn 1942, but I don't
remember exactly when. At that time I was assigned by
Wirth to enlarge the gassing structure according to
the model of Treblinka. I went to Sobibor together
with Lorenz Hackenholt, who was at that time in
reported to the camp commander, Reichsleitner. He gave
us exact directive for the construction of the gassing
installations. The camp was already in operation, and
there was a gassing installation. Probably the old
installation was not big enough, and reconstruction
Testimonies as quoted in BELZEC,
- the Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana
University Press - Yitzhak Arad, 1987.