Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Archaeologists Uncover Gas Chambers at Sobibor Death Camp

Discovered seventy years after the Nazis bulldozed over the area in an attempt to cover their tracks

By: Daniel Koren

Published: September 17th, 2014 in News » World

Archaeologists Uncover Gas Chambers at Sobibor Death Camp

Photo Caption: Sobibor Railway Yard

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Since 2007, archaeologists in Poland have been hard at work after beginning a dig at the Sobibor death camp, a Nazi-era concentration camp where approximately 250,000 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Over the past seven years, archaeologists on location have discovered several items of significance, including medicine, utensils, jewelry, wedding rings with Hebrew inscriptions, perfume and other such objects, most of which are suspected to have belonged to the Jewish prisoners there.

On Wednesday, Yad Vashem announced the archaeological team’s most important discovery to date in the area: the gas chambers at Sobibor, the scene were the majority of the Jewish inmates met their demise.

On October 14, 1943, 600 of the camp’s prisoners staged a revolt, and briefly escaped, 100 – 120 of which survived after being returned, with roughly 60 of them surviving the Holocaust. After the revolt, the Nazis bulldozed over the area and planted pine trees in its place, in an attempt to cover their tracks and conceal the genocide that had taken place there

The archaeological team also uncovered a well earlier this week, that was used by prisoners in Camp 1, reports the Jerusalem Post. In the well, several items that belonged to the Jewish prisoners were discovered, as German guards had thrown them there before the camp was destroyed.

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

Dr. Silberklang also noted 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.”

“A small window has been open into their daily suffering,” he added.

With this discovery, according to Silberklang, researchers will have a better understanding of the grueling process Jews were forced to undergo before being murdered in the gas chambers.

“Finding the exact size of the gas chambers will enable us to understand what their capacity was and from there we can determine a more precise estimation of the number of people killed at the Sobibor Camp,” he said, adding that the discovery may also help learn more about the revolt that happened at Sobibor, and why the Jews that were able to escape were eventually located and brought back to the death camp at the hands of the Nazis.


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