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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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Underground Tunnel Discovered at Former Sobibor Death Camp

Archaeologists have discovered that Jews at the Sobibor death camp built a tunnel in an attempt to escape the gas chambers.

Archaeologists have discovered that Jews at the Sobibor death camp built a tunnel in an attempt to escape the gas chambers.

Polish and Israeli archaeologists discovered traces of an underground tunnel that apparently was never used at the site of the former death camp in Sobibor.

The tunnel ran from a barracks to outside the camp fence and may have been dug by the prisoners of the Sonderkommando who worked in the camp burning the corpses of murdered Jews.

The archaeology work at Sobibor is directed by Wojciech Mazurek of Chelm, Poland, and Yoram Haimi of Israel.

Though the tunnel would have helped the prisoners to escape, Mazurek does not believe it was used.

“The Germans found the tunnel and therefore shot and then burned the entire crew of the Sonderkommando,” Mazurek told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

At the gas chambers in Sobibor, Nazis murdered about 250,000 Jews mostly from Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The camp was closed following an uprising on Oct. 14, 1943; about half the remaining prisoners escaped during the uprising.

Afterwards, the Germans bulldozed the death camp and tried to disguise it by planting pine trees at the site, which now is home to the Sobibor Museum displaying a pyramid of ashes and crushed bones of the victims, collected from the cremation pits thereafter.

Before Jews were sent to the gas chambers, SS officer Oberscharführer Hermann Michel, wearing a white coat to give the impression he was a physician, told they would be sent to work after undressing and undergoing “disinfection.”

The SS then led them into the gas chambers, and Ukrainians closed the doors. After the gassing, Jewish workers removed the bodies and the SS led in the next group to meet their gruesome fate.

A Jewish underground movement at Sobibor succeeded in killing 11 SS officers and several camp guards. After the deaths were discovered, approximately 600 prisoners fled, half of them surviving the shots from Nazi fire and all but 50-70 of the others managing to escape re-capture or death on the mine fields surrounding Sobibor.

JTA contributed to this article.

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3 Responses to “Underground Tunnel Discovered at Former Sobibor Death Camp”

  1. Gregory David Shalom Gittens says:

    good info

  2. France Shalom Israel says:

    Tunnel souterrain découvert à l'ancien camp de la mort de Sobibor

    Les archéologues ont découvert que les Juifs au camp de Sobibor construit un tunnel dans une tentative d'échapper aux chambres à gaz.
    Les archéologues polonais et israéliens ont découvert des traces d'un tunnel souterrain qui, apparemment, n'a jamais été utilisé sur le site de l'ancien camp de la mort de Sobibor.

    Le tunnel a couru d'une caserne à l'extérieur de la clôture du camp et peut avoir été creusé par les prisonniers du Sonderkommando qui travaillait dans le camp de brûler les cadavres de juifs assassinés.

    Le travail d'archéologie à Sobibor est dirigé par Wojciech Mazurek de Chelm, en Pologne et Yoram Haimi d'Israël.

    Bien que le tunnel aurait aidé les prisonniers de s'échapper, Mazurek ne croit pas qu'il a été utilisé.

    "Les Allemands ont trouvé le tunnel et donc abattu puis brûlé tout l'équipage du Sonderkommando," Mazurek a déclaré au journal Gazeta Wyborcza.

    Lors des chambres à gaz de Sobibor, les nazis ont assassiné environ 250.000 Juifs surtout de la Pologne, les Pays-Bas et la Slovaquie. Le camp a été fermé suite à un soulèvement, le 14 octobre 1943, environ la moitié des prisonniers restants ont échappé pendant le soulèvement.

    Ensuite, les Allemands bulldozer le camp de la mort et a essayé de le déguiser en plantant des pins sur le site, qui abrite aujourd'hui le Musée de Sobibor affichant une pyramide de cendres et les os broyés des victimes, recueillies dans les fosses de crémation par la suite.

    Avant de Juifs ont été envoyés dans les chambres à gaz, l'officier SS Hermann Oberscharführer Michel, vêtu d'un manteau blanc pour donner l'impression qu'il était un médecin, a dit qu'ils seraient envoyés à travailler après s'être déshabillé et soumis à «désinfection».

    Le SS a ensuite dirigé les dans les chambres à gaz, et les Ukrainiens fermé les portes. Après le gazage, les travailleurs juifs enlevé les corps et les SS ont conduit dans le groupe prochaine pour rencontrer leur destin horrible.

    Un mouvement clandestin juif à Sobibor réussi à tuer 11 officiers SS et de plusieurs gardes du camp. Après la mort ont été découverts, environ 600 prisonniers se sont enfuis, la moitié d'entre eux de survivre aux coups de feu nazi et tout, mais 50-70 des autres réussissant à échapper à re-capture ou la mort sur les champs de mines entourant Sobibor.

  3. Jack Kuper says:

    My dear mother and 4 year old brother were reduced to ashes there in the spring of 1942.

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