deathcamp Sobibor was
built in Poland near the small village of Sobibòr,
close to a railroad line, and it
was designed and constructed in the form of a
rectangle, 400 by 600 meters in size. It was
surrounded by a barbed wire fence 3 meters high, which
had tree branches intertwined with it in order to
disguise the camp. It was divided into three distinct
areas, each independently surrounded by more barbed
arrived by rail, and prisoners were taken immediately
toward the gas chambers. But the victims did not know
what awaited them until the gas was being pumped into
the sealed chambers.
a train arrived, the victims were told that they had
arrived at a transit camp en route to labor camps;
before leaving, they were to take showers, and their
clothes would be disinfected. The men and women were
separated (children were assigned to the women), on
the pretext of the showers. The victims were ordered
to take off their clothes and hand over their
followed the march to the gas chambers, which had been
made to resemble shower rooms. Some 450-550 persons
entered the chambers at a time. Everything was done on
the run, accompanied by shouts, beatings, and warning
shots. The victims were in a state of shock. When the
gas chambers were filled, they were sealed and the gas
was piped in.
camouflage the screams of terrified victims being led
to the gas chambers from the other inmates, the Nazis
kept a gaggle of geese which they set loose at crucial
20-30 minutes, everyone inside was dead. The bodies
were then removed and buried, after the gold teeth had
been extracted. The whole procedure took two to three
hours. In the meantime, the railway cars were cleaned,
the train departed, and another twenty cars, with
their human load, entered the camp.
The first transport included
10,000 Jews from Germany and Austria, 6,000 from
Theresienstadt, and thousands from Slovakia.
the first two months - from early May to the end of
June - 100.000 Jews were murdered in Sobibor. The
Germans found that the gas chambers, which had a
capacity of fewer than 600 people, were a bottleneck
in the murder process. Therefore, a halt in camp
operations in the summer was used to construct three
more gas chambers, thus doubling the pace of
than killing Jews by the systematic method, SS also
invented new ways to murder. They pushed Jews with
umbrellas off roofs to assemble parachuting. Some
stabbed workers in their backs with a small knife when
the workers bent over to pick up branches. Others
sewed up prisoners' trousers after throwing rats
inside. Babies were thrown directly into garbage pits
or were torn apart down the middle by their legs.
smallest of the extermination camps operated by Nazi
Germany during World War II, Sobibor also was the
scene of the war's biggest prisoner escape. On October
14, 1943, about three hundred Jewish inmates -
halfstarved, ill and despairing - rose in
revolt killing several SS supervisors and Ukrainian
guards. Several inmates were killed during the
rebellion or during the escape attempt. All the Jews who stayed
behind were executed the next day.
the inmates who made it to the forest, half were
recaptured and killed by the Nazis and many murdered
by anti-semitic Poles.
Historians believe that less than 60 actually survived
Sobibor - 260,000 were killed ..
the uprising at Sobibor, SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich
Himmler ordered the camp destroyed. The buildings were
destroyed, the land plowed under, and trees planted.
trace remained by the end of 1943.