Nederlands Holocaust in Europe Sobibor


In October 1943, prisoners in Sobibor carried out a revolt.  Several months earlier rumours had spread that the camp would be liquidated. The source of the rumours was the fact that fewer transports were arriving. The prisoners who were force to work in the camp feared that liquidation of the camp spelled a definite death for them. Escape plans were drawn. On 22 September 1943, a transport of Jews from Minsk arrived, including Soviet prisoners of war. On the 14th of October an escape plan materialised under the leadership of Alexander Petsjerski, one of the prisoners of war. Twelve German SS men and two Ukrainian guards were killed after the regular morning roll call, and 365 camp prisoners escaped. Some of the escapees were killed by the mines that were planted around the camp, others were caught later, and still others were killed by Poles while fleeing. Other Poles however did help hide escaped Sobibor prisoners - at the risk of their own lives. Fifty prisoners who escaped from Sobibor survived the war, including one Dutch woman (Selma Engel-Wijnberg). Revolts by prisoners also took place in Treblinka (August 1943) and in Auschwitz-Birkenau (October 1944).

31_opstand_sobibor_AB5 31-leiders_opstand
  1. Demolishing Sobibor after the armed revolt of the prisoners, 1943. NIOD Collection, Amsterdam
  2. The two revolt leaders: Aleksander Peczerski and Leon Feldhendler
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