We are currently blogging from inside Pebbles the Polo (the name of our car) in the car park at our local MaccieD's, our hostel's wifi turned itself off and what with that and the lack of toilet paper it really is a top notch place to stay!
We are about to drive about one and a half hours to Sobibor, a former death camp and one of the most secretive of all Nazi camps. It was created during Aktion Reinhard (see Treblinka post for details) and was the site where roughly 250,000 people were gassed to death. It was active between May 1942 and October 1943. Thousands of people from all over Europe (Holland, Poland, Austria amongst many other countries) were brought here to have their bodies shaved, their belongings stolen and then to be gassed to death. An illusion was created (similarly in most other camps) that the victims were being resettled to work and that they would be treated to a hot shower before being sent to their assignments. The shower room was the gas chamber.
In October 1943, 600 prisoners revolted. They decided that no more would people walk like lambs to the slaughter. They must stand up for their rights and the rights of future generations. Leon Feldhendler and Alexander Pechersky led the uprising killing eleven SS guards and a number of Ukrainian camp gards. Unfortunately, their plan was discovered, so 300 of the 600 fled into the forests where many were killed by the mines planted by the Nazis around the perimeter of the camp, many others were sheltered by local peasants.
Only 50 people from Sobibor survived the war. Today we will go and trace their stories and all the stories of the 250,000 victims.