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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘death camp’

Sobibor Death Camp Gas Chambers Uncovered

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

The location of the gas chambers at the notorious Sobibor death camp has been revealed, Yad Vashem announced Wednesday.

On October 14, 1943 some 600 prisoners rose up in revolt and escaped from the camp. Most were recaptured or murdered, but 100 to 120 managed to survive. Of those, 60 made it through to the end of the war, when Allied Forces arrived to free the captives.

But a quarter of a million Jews were murdered at the death camp in Poland, where the Nazis worked hard to cover up their evil crime. After the uprising, the Nazis bulldozed the site and planted evergreen trees to conceal the mass graves.

Now, an archaeological dig has uncovered the truth nevertheless.

Dr. David Silberklang, a senior researcher at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust research said, “The discovery of the exact location of the gas chambers at the Sobibior Camp is a discovery of the utmost importance in Holocaust research.”

He said it was important to understand that “there are no remains from any Jews who worked in the area of the gas chambers, and therefore these findings are the only thing left from those who were murdered.” Silberklang said “a small window has been open into their daily suffering.”

Personal effects of the victims who lived and died in the tragedy have been found near the gas chambers. Among the items uncovered were jewelry – including wedding rings – and perfumes, medicine and utensils.

Archaeologist Yoram Haimi added that “we found near the gas chambers wedding rings with the inscription in Hebrew, ‘Harei at mekudeshet li” (Behold, thou art consecrated unto me.”)

Silberklang said that for the first time the excavation taking place at the site would enable researchers would be able to better understand the murder process in the camp and what the Jews went through before their deaths.

German Police Three Auschwitz Guard Suspects

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

German police arrested three men in their 80s and 90s Thursday on suspicion of accessory to murder when they were guards at the Auschwitz death camp. Three others, all in their 90s, may also be arrested if police uncover enough evidence to warrant putting them on trial.

“This is a major step,” said Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. After being told of the arrests, he told the Associated Press, “Given the advanced age of the defendants, every effort should be made to expedite their prosecution.”

German authorities announced last year they would investigate former guards at Nazi death camps. At the trial of former Sobibor death camp guard John Demjanjuk, who died in 2012 while appealing his conviction, the courts set a precedent by accepting prosecutors’ arguments that death camp guards were accessories to murder.

Germany Wants to Indict 30 Auschwitz Nazi Guards

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Judicial officials in Germany have investigated 49 former Nazi guards at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and said 30 of them should be prosecuted, while nine others have since died

Another seven of the former guards are living outside of the country. Some of the guards are reportedly as old as 97.

The justice agency in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, which heads German investigations into Nazi war crimes, also plans to carry out “time-consuming” work and re-examine files of all former Nazis who worked in extermination camps and were part of Nazi murder squads.

The Ultimate Revenge for Holocaust Survivor: New Torah Scroll

Monday, August 19th, 2013

An 88-year-old survivor of the Auschwitz death camp has donated a new Torah scroll to the Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie, near Chicago, the ultimate revenge against the Nazis who tried to eradicate Jews and Judaism.

Her other revenge was to dwell in the future and present, instead of the past, and marry and bring more Jews into the world.

Marge Fettmen, her children and grandchildren attended a recent Torah dedication ceremony, in memory of her late husband Daniel, also a Holocaust survivor.

Fettman, known by the Nazis as prisoner No. 21880, told the Chabad website, “God gave me a good idea – to have a Torah written. It is our guide. I want the Torah to be used to teach people about Judaism.”

Fettman was living with her family in Romania in 1944 when the Nazis stormed into their town of Szaszregen and herded her and her relatives into a cattle car for Auschwitz.

“When we arrived, Dr. [Josef] Mengele stood there flicking his whip, sending some of us to the right and others to the left. I was separated from my family,” she told Chabad. “Since I had the snacks we had packed for the children, I was concerned that they would be hungry. I wanted to bolt to the other side to be with them, but Mengele saw and shouted at me in German, ‘Are you a fool?’ I stayed where I was, and my life was spared.”

After surviving the death camp, she married her husband, and the couple moved to the United States in 1949, where they raised they raised their children in the Jewish tradition. Her husband, a grocery store owner, died in 2004 at the age of 83.

Her parents were very religious, and she decided that dedicating a new Torah scroll was the best way to remember them forever.

Underground Tunnel Discovered at Former Sobibor Death Camp

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/underground-tunnel-discovered-at-former-sobibor-death-camp/2013/06/09/

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