The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/sobibor//sobibor.01

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: The deathcamp Sobibor
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Sobibor

Archive/File: camps/aktion.reinhard/sobibor/sobibor.01
Last-modified: 1995/08/18

"The name Sobibor was not immediately minted into the vocabulary of the
West, perhaps because by the time the record of the camp was exposed, the
casualty figures of the war itself had become statistics and the capacity
to respond to human suffering was blunted.<1>

Yet Sobibor was one of the six largest extermination camps and matched
Auschwitz and Treblinka, not only in its death toll, but in assembly-line
techniques for extermination. The floors of Sobibor's gas chambers were
constructed to tilt, like the body of a dump truck, so that stacks of
corpses slid out smoothly. Along with the usual barbed-wire enclosures,
Sobibor was surrounded by a minefield and an adaptation of the water-filled
medieval moat. Hundreds of geese were kept in special quarters, not only to
appear on the tables of the SS mess but also because their raucous cackling
helped drown out the screams of the doomed inmates as they were killed in
the gas chambers, an unusual inversion of the classic Roman defense which
depended on geese, penned at the foot of fortified hills, to warn the
populace when marauders threatened the city.

It was at Sobibor that one of the most daring revolts flared, which again
alerted the Nazis to the enormous danger the Jews represented once they had
secured arms. Hoess of Auschwitz, in his prison autobiography, wrote that
the escape and its cost to the Nazis left a trail of shame. `The Jews,' he
noted, `were able by force to achieve a major breakout during which almost
all the guard personnel were wiped out.' Himmler was so outraged by the
`humiliation' that he ordered Sobibor to be destroyed and all evidence of
its activity erased.<22>"

	<22> Rudolf Hoess. Commandant of Auschwitz. p. 45, as cited in 
	Sachar, Abram L. The Redemption of the Unwanted. (New York: St.
	Martin's/Marek, 1983) 41-42

<1> Contrast this comment with Rashke's introduction ((Rashke, Richard. 
Escape From Sobibor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982): "Almost
everyone knows of Auschwitz and Dachau. But few people have ever heard about
Sobibor, ... Why history has been so silent is no mystery.

In 1945, the Allies captured a mountain of German documents, bequeathing to
historians an incomparable war library. Among those millions of pages,
however, were only three short documents about Sobibor, part of Heinrich
Himmler's Operation Reinhard, the code name for three top secret death camps
in eastern Poland.

The death camps -- Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka -- were quite different
from Dachau, a prison, and Auschwitz, a concentration camp with gas chambers
for those too weak to work. They were giant death machines. Every Jew sent
there was to be gassed within twenty-four hours, with the exception of
between a hundred and six hundred Jews chosen to maintain the camp. They,
too, were destined to be killed when Operation Reinhard was completed, if
they lasted that long."

Those wishing to examine English transcripts from the Memorial Book of
Wlodowa will note many first-hand testimonies about the ghettos in the
Wlodowa area, and the Sobibor camp. In particular, there are several files
directly addressing the revolt and subsequent escape of some of the

See for 
available material.

Our Yad Vashem archives contain well-documented specifics relating to
Operation Reinhard, and Sobibor. 

See for available files. 

(Our research guide to Operation Reinhard is published every 45 days to 
news.answers and elsewhere - it is also available from our ftp server.)

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