Mass Gassing Operations Begin at Sobibor Nazi Extermination Camp
Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp set up in the Lublin region of occupied Poland as part of Operation Reinhard; the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor.
Jews, including Jewish Soviet prisoners of war (PoWs), and possibly Gypsies were transported to Sobibor by rail, and suffocated in gas chambers that were fed with the exhaust of a petrol engine. One source states that up to 200,000 people were killed at Sobibor. Thomas Blatt claims that "In the Hagen court proceedings against former Sobibor Nazis, Professor Wolfgang Scheffler, who served as an expert, estimated the total figure of murdered Jews at a minimum of 250,000."
After a successful revolt on October 14, 1943 about half of the 600 prisoners in Sobibor escaped; the camp was closed and planted with trees days afterwards. A memorial and museum are at the site today.
Sobibór is also the name of the village outside which the camp was built, which is now part of Lublin Voivodeship in Poland.
German SS and police authorities constructed Sobibor in the spring of 1942 as the second killing center within the framework of Operation Reinhard, the plan implemented by the SS and Police Leader in Lublin to murder the Jews of the Generalgouvernement. It was built along the Chelm-Wlodawa railway line, in a wooded, swampy, and thinly populated region. At its largest extension, the camp covered a rectangular area of 1,312 by 1,969 feet. Branches woven into the barbed-wire fence and trees planted around the perimeter camouflaged the site. The entire camp was surrounded by a minefield 50 feet wide.