Scrapbookpages Blog

February 17, 2014

Why were Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor, passing up Auschwitz and Majdanek?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:44 am
Map of Nazi extermination camps

Map of Nazi extermination camps

The six extermination camps of the Holocaust are shown on the map above; each death camp is indicated by a small photo of a skull and crossbones. Note that the Sobibor death camp is shown on the far right hand side. Auschwitz and Majdanek, the two major death camps, are west of Sobibor, and closer to the Netherlands.

Sign alongside the railroad tracks for stop at Sobibor

Sign alongside the railroad tracks for stop at Sobibor

Sobibor was a very small camp, which had no gas chambers that used Zyklon-B. At Sobibor, the Jews were killed with carbon monoxide from captured Soviet tanks. There is virtually nothing left of the Sobibor camp, except the Commandant’s house which is across the railroad tracks from the former camp.

The Commandant's house at Sobibor death camp

The Commandant’s house at Sobibor death camp Photo Credit: ARC website

I previously blogged about Sobibor at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/jews-were-reduced-to-ashes-within-a-half-hour-of-their-arrival-at-the-sobibor-extermination-camp/

I am writing about Sobibor again because this death camp is in the news again. A news article on The Moderate Voice tells the story, which you can read in full at  http://themoderatevoice.com/191151/revisiting-the-road-to-heaven-on-holocaust-memorial-day/

This quote is from an article entitled The Dutch Auschwitz, which you can read in full at http://vorige.nrc.nl/international/article2228321.ece/Telling_the_story_of_the_Dutch

34,000 Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor

There is little in Sobibor to remind one of the former extermination camp where 34,000 Dutch Jews died. That is going to change, thanks in part to help from the Netherlands.

Anyone who didn’t know better would think they are in a typical Polish hamlet, where clean washing flutters in the wind, farmers on old tractors rumble by and lumbermen lug tree trunks. But Stara Kolonia Sobibór is not typical, nor will it ever be.

During the Second World War this was the site of the German extermination camp Sobibor, where 170,000 Jews, more than 34,000 of them Dutch, were systematically murdered. It is a difficult place to reach, deep in the forests of Poland’s eastern border area, and easy to forget. But that is going to change.

The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Israel recently agreed on a major ‘renovation’ aimed at opening up the former camp to the outside world and pulling it out of the shadow of the well-known Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in southern Poland.

Does this make any sense to you?  Why Sobibor? There were 4 large gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which used Zyklon-B, and one large gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp, which also used Zyklon-B.

Why take the Dutch Jews, on passenger trains, farther east and kill them with carbon-monoxide, when they could have been transported in cattle cars to Auschwitz or Majdanek?

The Nazis never did anything that made any sense.  Why did Hitler initially want to make the Me-262 plane a “lighting bomber” instead of a jet fighter plane?

Hitler later changed his mind and made the Me-262 a fighter plane. You can read about this at http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/messerschmitt_262.htm

The Nazis also changed their minds about Sobibor and this camp was quickly closed up in 1943. The Jews were then sent to the main extermination camps at Auschwitz and Majdanek to be killed in real gas chambers, using Zyklon-B.

Not all of the Dutch Jews were sent to death camps.  Some were sent to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, which was divided into several sections. One of these sections was the Star Camp (Sternlager).

Approximately 4,000 Jewish prisoners, mostly from the Netherlands, were sent to the Star camp at Bergen-Belsen, where conditions were somewhat better than in other parts of the camp. In the Star camp, the prisoners wore a yellow Star of David on their own clothes instead of the usual blue and gray striped prison uniform, but they did have to work, even the old people, according to the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site.

The following quote is from Eberhard Kolb’s book entitled Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945:

From the Dutch “transit camp'” at Westerbork all those inmates were transported to Bergen-Belsen who were on one of the coveted “ban lists”, above all the “Palestine list”, the “South America list”, or the “dual citizenship list”.

Holders of the so-called “Stamp 120000” were also taken to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp:  Jews with proven connections to enemy states, Jews who had delivered up large properties, diamond workers and diamond dealers who were held back from transportation to an extermination camp but who were not allowed to go abroad, as well as so-called “Jews of merit”. A total of 3670 “exchange Jews” of these categories, always with their families, were deported from Westerbork to Bergen-Belsen in eight transports between January and September 1944.

According to Kolb, there were only 6,000 Dutch Jews who returned home after the war, out of a total of 110,000 who were deported by the Nazis. 20,000 more Dutch Jews survived by going into hiding until the war was over. More than a third of those who survived the camps were inmates of the Bergen-Belsen Star Camp.

23 Comments

  1. How do you know they were taken in passenger trains ? As far as i know they were taken in cattle cars from the Westenbork camp.

    Comment by Faithless — September 20, 2016 @ 12:44 am

    • You wrote: “How do you know they were taken in passenger trains ? As far as i know they were taken in cattle cars from the Westenbork camp.”

      I studied the history of the Sobibor camp in preparation for going there. Unfortunately, I could not find a guide who was willing to accompany me there. All the guides that I contacted said that this was a dangerous place where thieves were waiting to rob American tourists.

      However I did write about Sobibor on my website at

      http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Sobibor/Tour01.html
      This quote is from my website:
      Begin quote
      Most of the Jews were transported in cattle cars, but the 34,000 Dutch Jews who were sent to Sobibor arrived in passenger trains, according to Toivi Blatt [who was a prisoner there].

      Comment by furtherglory — September 20, 2016 @ 8:37 am

      • I think there are enough pictures available online which will show people being loaded into cattle cars such as here https://erfgoedstem.nl/westerbork-beelden-genomineerd-als-documentair-erfgoed/

        Comment by Faithless — September 20, 2016 @ 9:21 am

        • You wrote: “I think there are enough pictures available online which will show people being loaded into cattle cars”

          Of course, Jews were transported in cattle cars. German citizens were also riding in cattle cars. I read a book written by a German woman who was alive in World War II. She wrote about riding in cattle cars during the war because the passenger trains were reserved for soldiers. In America, soldiers were riding in passenger cars while private citizens were riding in cattle cars. As a child, I lived in a house that was only a few feet from the railroad tracks. I would go out and wave to the American soldiers who were hanging out of the windows in the passenger cars. Private citizens were riding in the cattle cars.

          Comment by furtherglory — September 20, 2016 @ 9:58 am

  2. Why use the Nazi term?

    Comment by Anonymous — February 21, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

  3. FG wrote: “The six extermination camps of the Holocaust are shown on the map above”

    Update. Even the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) doesn’t still regard Majdanek as an extermination camp. As “they” (you know who) can’t say they have lied to people for 7 decades about Majdanek, “they” now claim that Majdanek “occasionally functioned as a killing site”. “They” even avoid to say how Majdanek was supposed kill people “occasionally”.

    USHMM website: “Though many scholars have traditionally counted the Majdanek camp as a sixth killing center, recent research had shed more light on the functions and operations at Lublin/Majdanek. Within the framework of Operation Reinhard, Majdanek primarily served to concentrate Jews whom the Germans spared temporarily for forced labor. It occasionally functioned as a killing site to murder victims who could not be killed at the Operation Reinhard killing centers: Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka II. It also contained a storage depot for property and valuables taken from the Jewish victims at the killing centers.” (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005145)

    Even according to the exterminationist view, the Holocaust was only 90% a lie after all. Why are there some “deniers”? 😉

    Comment by hermie — February 20, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

  4. Some innocent jewish victims have this nice lady to thank for their inconveniences.

    Comment by Eager For Answers — February 17, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  5. Where did all the ” Dutch” Jews go ? Well many “Dutch Jews” were of recent origin and ten years previously they were German, Poles or Czechs .Some perished through typhus and disease in the last weeks of the war, some landed up in displaced persons camps and went on to , Australia, Palestine, England etc many went to France post war. What we can be sure of is that not one was killed in a Nazi gas chamber because they never ever existed.

    Comment by peter — February 17, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

  6. You’d have thought Sobibor would have been the perfect isolated spot for a spot of genocide.

    But no, those dumb Nazis chose to do it at a massive railway hub right between two of Poland’s biggest cities

    Comment by DB — February 17, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    • You must be referring to Auschwitz, which was a “massive railway hub.” Passengers could go from anywhere in Europe to Auschwitz without changing trains. It was inconvenient to send passengers to Sobibor.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 17, 2014 @ 9:59 am

      • Yes that’s right.

        So why have a death camp where it’s difficult to transport people to, and why have a death camp with good rail connections but right between two massive cities?

        None of it makes sense

        Comment by DB — February 17, 2014 @ 10:21 am

  7. Obviously all the other DEAD CAMPS the murdering had been going in 1943 on high figures of victims.In that year the mass killing of Polish Jews with the winfing up of tje Ghettoes started. Besides, there jhad been also the mass deportations from Germany, Austria, Slovacchia, Boemia-Moravia, Croatia, Netherland, Belgium and Fransce. The nazi MURDER INC. had been a high level logistic. So all that makes sense. Clearly? .

    Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — February 17, 2014 @ 9:08 am

    • I have written an update to my blog post, in which I have added information about the Dutch Jews who were sent to the exchange camp at Bergen-Belsen. This was after 1943, when the Sobibor camp was closed. In the last six months that Bergen-Belsen was a camp, it was converted into a concentration camp. Very few exchanges were ever made because the Allies did not want Jews to go to Palestine.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 17, 2014 @ 9:50 am

    • Those DEAD CAMPS are alive and kicking, aren’t they?

      Comment by Eager For Answers — February 17, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

  8. From the ‘Moderate Voice’ article….

    ‘To be frank, I don’t remember having heard of a place called Sobibor…..’

    Exactly, not many people have.

    So with the Auschwitz story getting ripped apart from all sides, yet another insignificant place has to be thrust into the headlines, and our faces, and turned into a place of pilgrimage.

    (Oh, and it helps the local economy too)

    Comment by DB — February 17, 2014 @ 9:06 am

    • Sobibor was not even mentioned in the famous book entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” The camp was unknown until a movie was made about it. I had never heard of it until the movie came out.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 17, 2014 @ 9:53 am

    • DB
      There was a revolt and uprising initiated by Russian Prisoners and over 300 inmates escaped, it is well documented in various German publications as about 12 SS-men were lured into a trap and killed. The funeral procession was shown in the Wochenschau. Pictures are on a number of web sites.http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/sobibor.html-http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Sobibor.html
      Himmler ordered the camp to be levelled to the ground and ensure to destroy all traces. The ammunition stored there was to be taken away. A group of about 300 prisoners from Treblinka came to Sobibor to the site and to destroy and conceal the traces of the crime. In November 1943, these last prisoners were murdered, the last SS men and Ukrainians leaving Sobibor in December 1944.
      Globocnik, who continued after his transfer to Trieste was still responsible for “Aktion Reinhardt” and sent, on 4 November 1943 a message as to the completion and the resolution of the three death camps to Himmler. He in turn thanked him on 30 November 1943: “I speak to you for your great and unique contribution which you have done in implementing the Action Reinhardt and receive from the entire German people, my thanks and my appreciation.”

      Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — February 17, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

      • Herbert you seem to have linked to two notorious race hate sites to justify your claims. One site tells me “The Germans didn’t discriminate. They killed little girls too ” .I was hoping to see the funeral procession that you said was on the site. As for the Wochenschau, I am very familiar with them and don’t recall ever seeing a funeral procession for Sobibor uprising victims.

        Comment by peter — February 18, 2014 @ 3:20 am

        • Peter,
          The sites I quoted are of random selection and I did not pay any particular attention to its content nor that they are sites of hate. I ment only briefly that the funeral procession was shown around 1943 in German News Reel (WOCHENSCHAU) as a propaganda item in cinemas, which I have seen, but at that time was very much considered an heroic event of murdered SS-men, nothing in my comment about victims of the uprising.
          I have written and published about Sobibor Concentration Camp under Dachau KZ, blogspot.com which I translated from German to the best of my ability without hate or malice, you will see one picture of the military funeral procession of the murdered SS-men in there. Do read it and let me know your thoughts after.
          Regards

          Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — February 18, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

          • I have never seen a Wochenschau with mention of SS victims of an uprising at Sobibor although the Wochenschau did cover the Warsaw uprising of 1944 and the murder by partisans of the governor in Minsk of White Russia. Don’t the high Priests of Holocaustianity claim that these aktion Reinhard camps were all top secret anyway. ? i think you might be confused with the film produced by Hollywood called ” Escape from Sobibor”
            Here is a Soviet newsreel of what Jewish men got up to if they weren’t in German labour camps.

            Comment by peter — February 20, 2014 @ 7:52 am

            • The death of German soldiers killed in action during WWII was as a rule published in local Newspapers in a 10 x 5 cm heavy black print with the Iron Cross in the upper left corner (without the swastika) and in most cases gave the location of his or her burial site. The picture I have published in my Blog of the Sobibor SS-men funeral is a typical example, with probably an appropriate article, which I have not read. There was very little secrecy of Concentration Camps and its glossed over purposes. I remember distinctly receiving at primary school (1939) a sticker to be placed behind radio dials warning anyone with four years of KZ, listening to a foreign radio broadcast and relating its news. I have never watched nor would look at a Hollywood Production like “Escape from Sobibor”, but saw the Wochenschau which showed the murdered “Opfer der asiatischen Horden”. (Victims of the Asian Horde). Just recheck the facts.

              Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — February 22, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

              • The concentrations camps were well known in Germany from 1933 and even Hitler mentioned them in a speech . The post war propaganda story of Vernichtungs lagers was not and you need to re read my post Herr Stolpmann. I will link to the Wochenschau where Hitler talks about the concentration camp system as it existed early in the war. Perhaps you could link to the Wochenschau showing the funeral of the Sobibor guards?

                Comment by peter — February 23, 2014 @ 1:40 am

                • As an Authority of Documentaries, I suggest you find your own Wochenschau which shows the funeral of the murdered SS-men. No further comment

                  Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — February 23, 2014 @ 4:05 pm


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