In July and August 1943, Leon Feldhendler set up a secret committee. Lieutenant Alexander “Sasha” Petsjerski, one of the Jewish soldiers of the Soviet army arriving with a transport on 22 September, was asked to take over the command.
After 22 days of preparation, Sasha Petsjerski had worked out a plan. The revolt took place on 14 October 1943, because on that day three of the most feared SS men, Franz Reichleitner, Gustav Wagner en Hubert Gomerski, were on leave. At four a.m. deputy commander SS-Untersturmführer Johann Niemann was lured to the tailor’s barracks to try on a new uniform. He was killed with an axe by prisoner Yehuda Lerner. Soon afterward, eleven SS men and two Ukrainian guards were killed.
Of the six hundred prisoners of Sobibor, some three or four hundred managed to escape. Many were shot during the attempt or ran onto the mines which surrounded the camp. Many of those who managed to reach the woods were caught during round-ups or betrayed by Poles. Fewer than fifty prisoners survived the outbreak. Those who didn’t leave the camp were afraid to attempt escape or were members of the Sonderkommando from Lager III.
As a result of the revolt, the Germans closed the camp down. Thirty Jews from Treblinka were appointed to dismantle the extermination camp. Eventually, they too were shot.