Monday, 22 September 2014

Sobibor: The Soviet transit camp

Bird's eye view of the Mound of Ashes monument and the archaeological work at the Sobibor memorial

The following quotation is taken from the English translation of a short book written by Marek Bem, the director of the Sobibor memorial museum, and Polish archaeologist Wojciech Mazurek:

In July 1944, the area, which had former been the extermination centre, was taken control over by the Red Army and the Polish People’s Army units. As of 1945, the new Polish authorities used the barracks left by the Germans, as well as the railway platform, as a railway station in order to gather in one place the Ukrainians meant for relocation. In 1945-1947, the Ukrainians from the eastern part of the Lublin District were relocated to Ukraine or to the western parts of Poland. The Ukrainians, who were waiting for their trains (sometimes even for more than a week) needed wood to light fires. Thus, they dismantled the remaining camp barracks, contributing in this way to the task of obliterating the last traces of the German extermination centre in Sobibór. Most probably, local residents finally completed the task of destroying all that remained of the camp, including the digging up of the ground to find the expected “valuable things the Jews left”.

Marek Bem, Wojciech Mazurek; Natalia Sarzyńska-Wójtowicz and Jack Dunster (trans.), Sobibór: Archaeological Research Conducted on the Site 
of the Former German Extermination Centre in Sobibór 2000-2011, Warsaw: The Foundation for “Polish-German Reconciliation”, 2012, p. 24.

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