The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/sobibor/sobibor.welcome

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Welcome to Sobibor... 
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Bredov,Frenzel,Gomerski,Michel,Sobibor

Archive/File: camps/aktion-reinhard/sobibor sobibor.welcome
Last-modified: 1993/03/24

"In the Fall of 1942, the death trains pulled into Sobibor without end,
sometimes two or three a day. They came from the smaller ghettos of eastern
Poland and from the west - Austria, Germany, Bohemia, and Slovakia. The
Nazis had told the western Jews that they were going to a work camp in the
Ukraine, and they believed them. There was no reason not to, for Operation
Reinhard was still a secret outside Poland and the Soviet Union.  And the
Nazis were able to deceive them right up to the very end.

They came to Sobibor in passenger trains, not boxcars, some traveling in
the comfort of roomettes and sleepers. When they spilled from the trains,
dressed in their finest furs and silks and toting the last of their riches
- gold and diamonds, linens and leather, heirlooms and herring - smiling
Ukrainians greeted them. The Bahnhofkommando - a train brigade of Sobibor
prisoners sporting smart blue coveralls and caps with BK - helped them from
the cars, took their luggage, and gave them baggage claim checks. The
western Jews swallowed the bait so completely that some asked the train
brigade whether they had arrived in the Ukraine, or how far it was to the
next station, or when the next train would leave. Some even offered their
porters tips. Like sad actors, the train brigade played their roles,
because the Nazis had ordered them under pain of death to guard the secret
of Sobibor, and SS Sergeant Karl Frenzel stood nearby to make sure they

Dressed in a white jacket like a doctor, Sergeant Hubert Gomerski weeded
out the weak. `Are you sick?' he'd ask as he looked over the new Jews.
`Having trouble walking?' Over there, then - on the little train. I'll take
you to the hospital for a checkup.' When the miners' train chugged into the
`hospital' - a prewar chapel deep inside Camp II - SS Sergeant Paul Bredov
and his Ukrainian helpers shot them.

Back in the arrival square, SS Sergeant Hermann Michel officially welcomed
the new Jews from the west. He was a tall, graceful man with delicate
features and a pleasant voice. He had worked in the euthanasia program with
Captain Stangl as head nurse at Schloss Hartheim. The Sobibor Jews called
him the Preacher.'

`Welcome to Sobibor,' he'd say. `You will be sent to a work camp. Families
will stay together. Those of you who work hard will be rewarded. There is
nothing to be afraid of here. We are concerned, however, about disease and
epidemic. So we'll ask you to take a shower. Men to the right. Women and
children under six to the left.'

Sometimes, more as a joke than to deceive, he'd say `You'll all be going to
the Ukraine as soon as it can be arranged. There the Reich will establish
an independent Jewish state for you.' Some of the German or Austrian Jews
would cheer while Michel tried to keep a straight face."

                           Work Cited

Rashke, Richard. Escape From Sobibor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,
1982). 58-59

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