web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sobibor’

Alleged Ex-Auschwitz Medic, 93, Arrested in Germany

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

An alleged former medic at Auschwitz was arrested in Germany on accusations that he was an accessory to murder.

The name of the 93-year-old man was not released in accordance with German privacy laws. He is accused of serving as a medic at the concentration camp in September 1944. Eight transports arrived at Auschwitz during that time, and 1,721 people were murdered after being labeled unfit to work, according to Der Spiegel.

Stefan Urbanek, a spokesman for the state prosecutor in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in northeast Germany, told reporters that the accused has not denied being at Auschwitz, but he “said that he had had no idea about the purpose of the camp” at the time.

Court doctors have determined that the man is well enough to stand trial and serve jail time.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder praised German authorities for making the arrest, noting that such prosecutions nearly 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz “sends a clear message that justice must be done, no matter how late the hour. There cannot be a statute of limitation for crimes against humanity, and mass murderers must continue to live in fear of the long arm of the law.”

“Old age should not afford protection to those who helped run the largest mass murder operation in human history,” the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, Israel director Efraim Zuroff, told JTA in an email.

Zuroff last fall renewed the Operation Last Chance campaign to find the last Nazi war criminals in Germany.

Clues leading to about 30 suspects last fall came from the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg, which made a major push to identify former death camp guards after the conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 for his role in the murders of nearly 30,000 Jews in the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

The Demjanjuk case set a precedent that serving as a guard at a death camp was sufficient to prove complicity in murder.

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/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: