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The Escape From Sobibor Essay

934 words - 4 pages

Sobibor was a death camp located in Poland which took part in the systematic obliteration of Jews during the Holocaust. Around 250,000 Jews were murdered at Sobibor between its construction in 1941 and its liquidation in 1943. But there was a select few brave occupants that decided they would not go down without a fight. They composed a revolt that would inspire people worldwide to never give up hope even in the darkest times in history. Lead by Jewish occupant, Leon Fendhendler, and Soviet prisoner of war Alexander (Sascha) Perchersky, the revolt “Proved that the Nazi death machine was an imperfect and beatable force.” (Ryan Picarrillo) Considering only 50 Sobibor escapees lived to see the end of the war, the significance of the uprising could be questioned, but it was effective. It ignited a flame in the Jewish population that would motivate them to fight back.
With the Leon’s knowledge of the camp and Sascha’s military knowledge and tactics, a plan quickly formed to not only free a select group of occupants, but all 600 Jews living at Sobibor. The strategy was to keep the escape a secret until the very last second. In fact, less than 10 percent of the camp knew about the revolt until it was actually happening. According to Thomas Blatt, a Sobibor survivor, the escape would happen in three phases: “preparations, the secret execution of SS officers, then the open revolt.” Leon recruited a few trusted blacksmiths to create makeshift axes and knives to use during the execution of the SS. The select few individuals would kill as many SS and Ukrainians as possible in the short span of an hour. The strategy was for their deaths to be a secret, and for the group to lure individual members of the SS into workshop offering them new coats, boots, and weapons, and to murder them there. At 5 o’clock every day, whistles would be blown indicating role call where all the occupants would gather in the center of the camp. With the absence of the dead SS, the Ukrainian guards would be left in mass confusion, allowing time for the prisoners to escape into the Polish country side to freedom.
The escape was carried out on October 14th, 1943. (Rosenberg) It was too late for the conspirators to turn back now. Phase 2: the secret execution of individual SS officers in separate workshops was to take place in the short span of an hour. (Piccirillo) There were 11 SS killed in those 60 minutes, resulting in an officer being murdered every 6 minutes. Each individual officer walked into the workshop, expecting a new coat or pair of boots, and never returned again. With phase 2 complete, the conspirators were ready to initiate in phase 3: the open revolt. At 5 o’ clock, just minutes...

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