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Survivors of the revolt

The exact number of Sobibor survivors is unknown. The general assumption is that there are fewer than fifty. In his book Vernietigingskamp Sobibor Jules Schelvis counts 47, including the five men who escaped from the Waldkommando on 27 July 1943. The other 42 are survivors of the 14 October 1943 uprising.

 

ALSTER, Schlomo (1 December 1908 Chelm, Poland)
In November 1942 Schlomo Alster was transported from Chelm to Sobibor. He was one of the older married men in the camp and was forced to build barracks as a carpenter. He also worked in the Bahnhofkommando. In 1946 he emigrated to Israel where he settled down in Rehovot.
Schlomo Alster
BACHIR, Moshe (19 July 1927 Plock, Poland)
On 24 May 1942 Moshe Bachir arrived in Sobibor on one of the first transports. He and fifty others were selected to work in the camp. The first three months he worked in the Bahnhofkommando; after that he was put to work in the food warehouse, and later still he worked as a barber. After the war he emigrated to Israel and was a witness at the Eichmann-trial.
Moshe Bachir
BARDACH, Antonius (16 May 1909 Lemberg, Poland)
Antonius Bardach arrived in Sobibor on the 53rd transport from Drancy. Of the thousand deportees he and Josef Duniec were the only survivors. After the war he emigrated to Belgium.
BIALOWITZ, Philip (25 November 1929 Izbica, Poland)
Thirteen-year-old Philip Bialowitz was among the eight hundred Jews who were deported by truck from Izbica to Sobibor in January 1943. He was selected to work in the camp, together with 45 other deportees. He ended up in the food warehouse and the sorting barracks where he had to search the victims’ clothing for hidden money and jewellery. Later he had to cut the hair of the women before they went into the gas chambers, and he worked in the Bahnhofkommando. After the war he emigrated to the United States.
Philip Bialowitz
BIALOWITZ, Symcha (6 December 1912 Izbica, Poland)
(also written as: Simha, Symcha, Simkha)
Symcha Bialowitz arrived in Sobibor three months after his brother Philip, on 28 April 1943. After the war he emigrated to Israel.
Simcha Bialowitz
BISKUBICZ, Jakob (17 March 1926 Hrubieszów, Poland; † March 2002 Ramat Gan, Israel)
Jakob Biskubicz, his parents and relatives arrived on a transport of two thousand people in June 1942. From the two thousand prisoners, eighty people were selected to work in other camps. 32 others could stay in Sobibor to work; twenty of them in Lager III where the bodi es were burned. Jakob Biskubicz had to burn clothing and documents that were left behind. He later worked as a carpenter and he spent nine months in the Bahnhofkommando. SS Wagner ordered him to scatter the victims’ ashes in the camp’s vegetable garden. After the uprising he joined the partisans and he later enlisted in the Polish army. In 1949 he emigrated to Israel.
Jakob Biskubicz
BLATT, Thomas (Toivi) (15 April 1927 Izbica, Poland)
Together with three hundred other Jews from Izbica Thomas Blatt was transported to Sobibor by truck on 23 April 1943. He was one of forty young men who were selected to work in the camp. He had to shine SS Frenzel’s boots and reinforce the fencing around the camp. He was also forced to sort and burn the clothing and personal possessions of the victims. After the war he temporarily went by the name of Stankiewicz and he emigrated to the United States.
Thomas Blatt
CUCKIERMAN, Hershel (15 April 1893 Kurów, Poland)
The transport that brought Hershel Cuckierman, his wife and family from Nalenczow to Sobibor in May 1942 consisted of 2,500 people. Although he was a gardener, he and his young son Josef volunteered when the Germans asked for a cook. Until the uprising he worked in the kitchen of Lager I. Thanks to his excellent memory he was able to identify many SS officers from photographs after the war. In the early 1950s he emigrated to the United States
Herschel Cuckierman
CUCKIERMAN, Josef (26 May 1930 Kúrow, Poland; † 15 June 1963)
Thanks to his father Hershel’s presence of mind, twelve-year-old Josef Cuckierman was made a cook’s boy. He also worked in the SS-mess and had to clean the boots of the SS. After the war he first settled down in Stuttgart and later moved to Karlsruhe.
Josef Cuckierman
DUNIEC, Josef (21 December 1912 Równo, Poland; † 1 December 1965 Haifa, Israel)
In 1932 Josef Duniec had emigrated to France to study chemistry. On 25 March 1943 he was put on a transport from transit camp Drancy to Majdanek. Because the thousand people on the transport could not be accommodated here the train went on to Sobibor. He was one of the 31 prisoners selected to work in the camp. After the war he settled down in Israel. He died one day before he was supposed to testify at the 1965 Sobibor trial.
Josef Duniec
ENGEL, Chaim (10 January 1916 Brudzew, Poland; † 4 July 2003 New Haven, Verenigde Staten)
SChaim Engel and his brother arrived in Sobibor on 6 November 1942. From the two thousand prisoners in the transport he and 27 others were selected to work in the camp. He sorted clothing, worked in the Bahnhofkommando, cut the women’s hair and was Kapo of the women’s barracks. During the uprising he and Kapo Pozycki killed SS Beckmann. Together with his girlfriend Selma Wijnberg he was liberated by the Red Army near Chelm on 23 June 1944. Via Odessa and Marseille they reached the liberated Netherlands. Because he was not a Dutch citizen he had to go into hiding in Amsterdam for a while; the couple subsequently moved via Israel to the United States.
Chaim Engel
FELDHENDLER, Leon (1910 Zolkiewka, Poland; † 6 April 1945 Lublin, Polen)
Son of a rabbi Leon Feldhendler was transported to Sobibor in early 1943. He was put to work in the provisions warehouse and sometimes had to help out in the Bahnhofkommando. Together with Alexander Petsjerski he was the organizer and leader of the uprising of 14 October 1943. After the liberation of Lublin he shared a house on Kowalski Street 4 with two fellow survivors: Chaskiel Menche and Meier Ziss. A fourth housemate, Moshe Blank, had been in hiding at that address during the war. On 3 April 1945 he was seriously injured in a fight and he died in the hospital three days later.
Leon Feldhendler
FISCHER, Eda (1 January 1915 Jaroslaw, Poland)
Mid-June 1943 Eda Fischer arrived in Sobibor. She worked in the laundry, in Lager I and also in Lager II. She was a mother figure to the young girls who had to knit and iron. She was called as a witness in the Eichmann trial. In 1950 she and Jitschak Lichtman emigrated to Israel, where they later married.
Eda Fischer
FREIBERG, Berek (15 May 1927 Warschau, Poland)
Berek Freiberg arrived in Sobibor on 15 May 1942 on a transport of one thousand Jews from Krasnistaw. He was forced to dig pits for burning trash. Later he cleaned the boots of the Ukrainian guards and he had to cut the hair of the women before they went to the gas chambers.
Berek Freiberg
GERSTENBERG, Herman (8 October 1909 Lubomel, Poland;† 8 June 1987 New York, United States) 
According to his own statement Herman Gerstenberg arrived in Sobibor from Chelm on 14 March 1943. In the camp he worked as a carpenter. After the war he changed his name to Posner and he emigrated to the United States.
GOLDFARB, Moshe (15 March 1920 Piaski, Poland; † 8 June 1984 Haifa, Israel)
Moshe Goldfarb arrived in Sobibor on 6 November 1942, on the same transport as Kurt Thomas. A sign painter, he painted the names and addresses on the suitcases of SS who went on leave. Thanks to one of these labels Kurt Thomas managed to track down SS Frenzel after the war. After the uprising Moshe Goldfarb joined the same partisan group as Jehuda Lerner.
Moshe Goldfarb
HERSZMAN, Josef (1925 Zolkiewka, Poland)
From Chelm Josef Herszman was brought to Sobibor on one of the first transports. He worked in the sorting barracks, the Bahnhofkommando and the Waldkommando. After the war he emigrated to Israel.
Josef Herszman
HONIGMAN, Zyndel (10 April 1910 Kiev, Soviet Union; † July 1989)
In November 1942 Zyndel Honigman arrived in Sobibor from Gorzków. Two days later he crawled under the barbed wire and managed to get away. In April 1943 he was again taken to Sobibor, this time via Trawniki. He pretended to be a butcher and was put to work in the kitchen. He escaped again, this time as one of the five members of the Waldkommando, who got away on 27 July 1943. After the war he emigrated to the United States.
Zyndel Honigman
KOHN, Abram (25 July 1910 Lódz, Poland; † 19 January 1986 Melbourne, Australia)
The transport on which Abram Kohn arrived in Sobibor in May 1942 consisted of several hundred Jews from Wisocka. He and his brother were among the eighty men selected to work in the camp. He worked in the sorting barracks, the kitchen and then in the Waldkommando. After the war he emigrated to Australia. He refused to testify in the 1983 trial against Frenzel because he had never received any compensation.
Abram Kohn
KOPP, Josef (Bilgoraj, Poland)
Josef Kopp was one of the first people to arrive in Sobibor. When on 27 July 1943 he was ordered to get water for the members of the Waldkommando, he and Schlomo Podchlebnik killed a Ukrainian guard who enabled them to escape. He survived the war but was killed after the liberation.
KORENFELD, Chaim (15 May 1923 Izbica, Poland)
Chaim Korenfeld arrived in Sobibor on the same transport as Thomas Blatt on 28 April 1943. Zyndel Honigman and Abraham Wang declared that on 27 July 1943 the three of them escaped from the Waldkommando. Korenfeld, however, states he was in the camp until the uprising. In 1949 he emigrated from Italy to Brazil.

LEIST, Chaim (Zólkiewka, Poland; † October 2005 Israel)
On 23 April 1943 Chaim Leist (or Lajst) arrived in Sobibor. After the war he emigrated to Brazil. In the late sixties he went to Israel where he died in October 2005, well in his nineties. He is buried in the Holon cemetery, close to Tel Aviv, where he lived in the last two decades of his life. 

Chaim Leist
LERER, Samuel (1 October 1922 Zólkiewka, Poland)
In May 1942 Samuel Lerer was transported to Sobibor. He had to tend to the horses, chickens and ducks. In 1949 he and Esther Raab recognized SS-man Bauer in Berlin, which resulted in the latter’s arrest. After living in Berlin for a few years, Lerer emigrated to the United Stated where he became a taxi driver in Brooklyn.
Samuel Lerer(privécollectie Jules Schelvis)
LERNER, Jehuda (22 July 1926 Warschau, Poland)
In the summer of 1942 Jehuda Lerner, who also went by the name Leon, was caught and taken to a camp near Smolensk. For three months he worked for Organisation Todt, building an airfield. He escaped in September 1942 but was caught and sent to Minsk. From there he was taken via Lublin to Sobibor in September 1943. He and Arkady Wajspapir killed SS Graetschus and the Ukrainian guard Klatt during the uprising. Together with Moshe Goldfarb he joined the partisans. In January 1945 he became the deputy commander of the Radom police. He left for Bayreuth with his wife Manja, and in 1949 he emigrated to Israel. From 1951 he worked for the police in Haifa.
Jehuda Lerner
LICHTMAN, Jitschak (10 December 1908 Zólkiewka, Poland)
Jitschak Lichtman arrived together with his brothers and family in Sobibor on 15 May 1942 on a transport of two thousand Jews. Until the uprising he worked in Lager I as a cobbler. On 15 December 1943 he joined the Zukow partisans and in June 1944 he enlisted in the Polish army. In 1950 he and Eda Fischer emigrated to Israel, where they later married.
Jitschak Lichtmann
LITWINOWSKI, Yefim
Yefim Litwinowsky was one of the first Soviet POWs to arrive in Sobibor on 22 September 1943. After the uprising he rejoined the Soviet army.
Yefim Litwinowski
MARGULIES, Abraham (25 January 1921 Zyrardów, Poland; † 1984 Israel)
As early as 1940 Abraham Margulies was put to work in a labour camp near Belzec, where he had to build defences near the Russian demarcation line. Late May 1942 he arrived in Sobibor on a transport of two thousand people from Zamosc. He was one of fifty men selected to work in the camp and he was in the Bahnhofkommando for a long time. He also worked in the kitchen and the sorting barracks. He struck up a friendship with Hella Weiss and they spent a lot of time together during and after the uprising. After the war he emigrated to Israel where he worked as a printer.
Abraham Margulies
MENCHE, Chaskiel (7 January 1910 Kolo, Poland; † 1984 Melbourne, Australia)
In 1937 Chaskiel Menche married Hella Podchlebnik, sister of Schlomo who escaped from the Waldkommando. Together with two thousand others he was transported to Sobibor via the ghettos of Izbica and Lublin in June 1942. He worked in the sorting barracks and the tailor workshop. After the war he thought he was the only Sobibor survivor and in order to support his claim for compensation he pretended he had been imprisoned in Gross-Rosen. In April 1949 he emigrated from Germany to Australia.
Chaskiel Menche
METZ, Zelda (née Kelberman) (1 May 1925 Siedliszcze, Poland; † 1980 United States)
Together with Esther Raab and her cousin Regina Zielinsky, Zelda Metz arrived in Sobibor on 20 December 1942 in a horse-drawn cart. She had to knit socks for the soldiers and worked in the laundry. In the summer of 1943 she was involved in building the new Lager IV. After the uprising she pretended to be a catholic girl called Jenine, and she worked as a nanny in Lemberg. In 1946 she emigrated to the United States.
Zelda Metz
PETSJERSKI, Alexander Aronowitz (22 februari 1909 Krementsjoeg, Ukraine; † januari 1990 Rostov, Soviet Union)
(also written as: Alexander (Sacha) Pechersky, Alexander (Sasha) Petsjerski, Pečerskij)
A lieutenant in the Red Army, Alexander Petsjerski was taken prisoner in October 1941. After he was discovered to be Jewish he was transported to Sobibor on 22 September 1943 together with other POWs and two thousand Jews from Minsk. Only 22 days later he and Leon Feldhendler had planned and carried out the uprising. He joined a group of partisans who were later assimilated into the Red Army. After the war he was sentenced to several months in prison because in the eyes of the Soviet authorities his forced labour for the Germans was equivalent to treason.
Alexander Petsjerski
PODCHLEBNIK, Schlomo (15 February 1907 Kolo, Poland; † February 1973 New Yersey, United States)
The transport from Izbica that brought Schlomo Podchlebnik to Sobibor on 28 April 1943 consisted of 270 persons. He was accompanied by his wife and two children; in the camp he found his brother-in-law Chaskiel Menche was also there. Because he was forced to dig pits he frequently went outside the camp. On 27 July 1943 he and Josef Kopp killed a Ukrainian guard, enabling them to escape from the Waldkommando. After the war he emigrated to the United States and changed his name to Paull.
Schlomo Podchlebnik
RAAB, Esther (née Terner) (11 juni Chelm, Poland)
Esther Raab arrived in Sobibor from labour camp Staw on 20 December 1942. She worked as a knitter for a few months and was then transferred to the sorting barracks. Together with Samuel Lerer she recognized SS Bauer in Berlin, which led to the latter’s arrest. After the war she emigrated to the United States.
Esther Raab
ROSENFELD, Semjon (1 October 1922 Ternivka, Ukraine)
(also written as: Semion Rosenfeld, Semyon Rozenfeld, Simjon Rosenfeld)
Simjon Rosenfeld, one of the Soviet prisoners of war, arrived in Sobibor on 22 September 1943. Without knowing what it meant, he volunteered as "glausermasser". It turned out he had t" haul rocks. After the war he joined the Soviet army. In Berlin he wrote on a wall in the Reichstag: ‘Baranowitz-Sobibor-Berlin". In the mid-1980s he emigrated to Israel.
Semjon Rosenfeld
ROTENBERG, Ajzik (1925 Wlodawa, Poland)
On 12 May 1943 Ajzik Rotenberg arrived on foot in Sobibor as one of the last people from his community. He and his brother were selected to work in the camp. He had to tie together bundles of victims’ clothes. Occasionally he worked as a bricklayer. His brother did not survive the uprising. After the war he emigrated to Israel.
Ajzik Rotenberg
SZMAJZNER, Stanislaw (13 March 1927 Pulawny, Poland; † 3 March 1989 Goiania, Brasilia)
On 12 May 1942, Stanislaw Szmajzner arrived in Sobibor on a transport of two thousand Jews from Opole. Being a goldsmith he made gold and silver jewellery for the SS. Later he became foreman of the maintenance mechanics. He was part of the committee that organized the uprising. In 1947 he emigrated to Brazil, where in 1978 he recognized SS Wagner at the Sao Paolo police station.
Stanislaw Szmajzner
STERN, Ursula (28 August 1926 Hessen, Germany; † Ashdod, Israel)
Ursula Stern arrived in Sobibor on 9 April 1943, on the same transport from Westerbork as Selma Wijnberg. She worked in the sorting barracks, in the Waldkommando and she had to clean ammunition in Lager IV. After the uprising she joined the partisans and in 1945 she became commissioner of a civil militia in Lublin. She acted as witness at the Hagen trial in 1964. After living in the Netherlands for many years she emigrated to Israel, where she died as Ilona Safran.
Ursula Stern
TABORINSKY, Boris (1917 Minsk, Soviet Union)
On 22 September 1943 Boris Taborinsky arrived in Sobibor with the transport of Soviet POWs and two thousand Jews from Minsk. He was selected to work in the camp because he fooled the Germans into believing he was a carpenter. He was selected to make roof coverings for the barracks.
THOMAS, Kurt (11 April 1914 Brno, Moravia; † 8 June 2009 Ohio, United States)
Via the ghettos of Theresienstadt and Piaski and the Trawniki camp Kurt Ticho (he did not change his name to Kurt Thomas until later) arrived in Sobibor on 6 November 1942. After working in the sorting barracks for a while he became Sanitäter (orderly). In the camp he befriended the Dutch girl Mini Cats. After the war he emigrated to the United States and initiated the trials against SS men Gomerski and Klier in Frankfurt.
Kurt Thomas
TRAGER, Chaim (5 March 1906 Chelm, Poland; † 1 August 1969 Tel Aviv, Israel)
In March 1943 Chaim Trager was transported from Chelm to Sobibor. He was a bricklayer and could see what was happening in Lager III from the roof of a barracks where he was working on a chimney. He also worked in the Bahnhofkommando for a while. After the war he emigrated to Israel.
Chaim Trager
WAIZEN, Aleksej (30 May 1922 Grigoriw, Soviet Union)
(also written as: Alexsy Wajcen, Aleksej Waitsen)
Aleksej Waizen arrived in Sobibor in the autumn of 1943 on a transport of 2,500 Jews from Ternopol. He was one of thirty men who were selected to work in the camp. He mostly sorted the victims’ clothing.
Aleksej Waizen
WAJSPAPIR, Arkady (1921)
(also written as: Arkadii Weisspapier)
Heavily wounded, Red Army soldier Arkady Wajspapir ended up in a field hospital near Kiev. After it was discovered he was a Jew, he was taken to the concentration camp in Minsk. On 22 September 1943 he arrived in Sobibor where he and other Soviet POWs were put to work building barracks in Lager IV. During the uprising he and Jehuda Lerner killed SS Graetschus and Ukrainian guard Klatt. With nine others he crossed the Bug river and joined the partisans.
Arkady Wajspapir
WANG, Abraham (2 January 1921 Izbica, Poland; † 1978 Rehovot, Israel)
On 23 April Abraham Wang and 280 Jews from Izibica were taken to Sobibor by truck. He was one of the forty men who were selected to work in the camp. He had to sort the victims’ clothes. He also had to work in the Waldkommando, from which he and four others managed to escape on 27 July 1943.
Abraham Wang
WEISS, Hella (née Felenbaum) (25 November 1925 Lublin, Poland; † December 1988 Gedera, Israel)
On a horse-drawn cart Hella Weiss was taken to Sobibor from Staw labour camp on 20 December 1942. She worked in the sorting barracks and had to tend to the flowers for the SS in the garden. After the uprising she fought with the partisans and in the Red Army. She was awarded seven decorations, including the Red Star. After the war she moved to Israel where she settled to become a mother of three, as she stated in the late sixties.
Hella Weiss
WEWERIK, Kalmen (25 June 1906 Chelm, Poland)
On the same transport as Schlomo Alster, Kalmen Wewerik arrived in Sobibor in the autumn of 1942, where he was put to work as a carpenter. By then his wife and two little children had been rounded up. He never saw them again. After the uprising he stayed with Petsjerski’s group for a while, but later joined the partisans. After the war he married an Auschwitz survivor. In 1956 he and his wife moved to France and in 1968 to Canada. His memoires were published.
WIJNBERG, Selma (15 May 1922 Groningen, the Netherlands)
Selma (Saartje) Wijnberg arrived in Sobibor on 9 April 1943 on a transport from Westerbork of 2,020 Jews. She worked mainly in the sorting barracks, and occasionally in the Waldkommando. Selma Wijnberg is the only Dutch woman to survive the uprising in Sobibor. The Red Army liberated her and Chaim Engel on 23 June 1944 near Chelm. They reached liberated Holland via Odessa and Marseille. After living in Zwolle for a while she and her husband emigrated via Israel to the United States.
Selma Wijnberg
ZIELINSKY, Regina (née Feldman) (2 September 1924 Siedliszcze, Poland)
In a horse-drawn cart Regina Zielinsky arrived in Sobibor on 20 December 1942 from the labour camp Staw. She had to knit socks, worked in the laundry and sowing room and she had to sort ammunition. SS Wagner once struck her so hard with his whip that after the war one of her kidneys had to be removed. After the uprising she found employment as a nanny in Frankfurt under an assumed identity. She emigrated to Australia on 3 August 1949.
Regina Zielinsky
ZISS, Meier (15 November 1927 Lublin, Poland)
In May or June 1942 Meier Ziss arrived in Sobibor. For six months he worked in the sorting barracks; after that he was a barber and later still he had to burn the documents left behind by victims. Between 1956 and 1961 he lived in Venezuela; from there he emigrated to Israel.
Meier Ziss

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Read more about the eighteen Dutch survivors

 

 

 

 

 

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