about 60 managed to survive the horrors of Sobibor and give
evidence of the death camp. One of them was Kalmen
Wewryk - the following are excerpts of his story To
Sobibor and Back. An Eyewitness Account:
remember a certain transport from Holland - ach, this
was horrible! There were too many Jewish children to
be 'processed' rapidly so they were in a long,
steadily shrinking circular line from morning to night.
Such beautiful children, gorgeous little blonde girls
with pigtails, decently dressed. These poor
unfortunates were well-fed, with pretty, round little
faces. Their parents must have loved them so, must
have lavished such care on them, and now ...
of them carried small suitcases or bags. It was
pitiful, so sad! The SS men were watching over them.
We weren't supposed to even glance at those Berelach
and Yosselech and Estherlech; saying one word to them
was out of the question! Some of the kids were crying;
they probably understood. The soil was sandy, so some
children made circles in the sand and they played with
pebbles and branches. After all, they were only
If an SS man would have caught one of us glancing,
even sideways, at those children, showing any interest
at all in them, we would instantly have been taken to
the gas chamber. But we managed to see what was going
on. The Ukrainians and the SS were very nervous and
wild that day. They were usually wild, but now they
outdid themselves. Some children's eyes were full of
fear - they were wide-eyed with fear. It was a day
straight out of hell! And every minute less and less
of them, less and less. The line got shorter and
shorter. And my Berelechs and Yosselechs and
Estherlechs became smoke in those accursed skies.
After it was all over, the SS men went to get drunk in
their casino ...
a transport of ultra-Orthodox (Hassidic) women was
brought to Sobibor. The poor women were shrieking
horribly. When they were ordered to get undressed with
their children, they were yelling 'Shma Yisroel' at
the tops of their lungs. You could have heard them
All of them, with their children, were gassed. Not a
single one was spared. I remember a group of Dutch
Jewish women who had been brought in a transport. They
kept yelling nervously and, in some cases,
semi-hysterically, 'It's impossible! It's impossible!
It can't be! It can't be!' They couldn't believe that
such a place could exist in the middle of the 20th
Many SS men were present at the roll calls. They went
around with their whips and looked at people's faces.
When an SS man didn't like a prisoner's face, he took
him out of the line-up. Whoever had displeased an SS
man, for one reason or another, or no reason at all,
was taken out. The SS men would shout, 'Let your pants
down!' The other SS would join 'the party', and they
would beat the prisoner mercilessly. The blood would
flow, and we were strictly ordered to look at the
scene attentively and laugh.
If a German saw that a Jew was not looking, the Jew
would get beaten too. The beaten Jews were thrown into
the barracks after the beatings. However, the next day
they couldn't go to work - they were in such bad shape.
They were then taken straight to the gas chamber.
These incidents happened almost every day. Women were
not spared this treatment too.
Every day brought new horrors. I remember when the
Germans even arranged a 'wedding' of two Jewish
prisoners. This was a complete wedding celebration,
with rabbis, festivities, music, etc. They picked a
Jewish singer dancer from France as the chief soloist
at the festivities. Ach, did she sing! So beautifully,
and with such expression! The Germans had prepared
this wedding celebration for their own grotesque
propaganda purpose. They filmed the wedding completely,
and right afterwards all the participants, including
the French soloist, were taken to the gas chamber ...