The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/sobibor/sobibor.11

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Sobibor, Winter, 1942-1943
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Bauer,Bolander,Groth,Poul,Sobibor

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/sobibor sobibor.11
Last-modified: 1993/03/24

"The transports trickled into Sobibor in the winter of 1942 like water from
half-frozen pipes. Most of the Polish Jews were already dead, and the Nazis
needed the trains to ship soldiers and supplies to the eastern front, where
the Wehmacht was fighting for its life. The long gaps between transports,
and the isolation in the almost snowbound camp, made the Nazis edgy and
bored. They took it out on the Jews.

Sergeant Paul Groth made up little games. He'd order four Jews to carry him
around the yard like a king while he'd drop burning paper on their heads.
Or he'd make prisoners jump from roofs with umbrellas, or scale roof beams
until they fell to the floor. Those who sprained ankles and broke legs were
shot in Camp III. Or he'd organize a flogging party, forcing Jews to run
the gauntlet past Ukrainians with whips. Or he'd order a thin prisoner to
gulp vodka and eat two pounds of sausage within minutes. They he'd force
open the Jew's mouth and urinate in it, roaring with laughter as the
prisoner retched in the snow.

Groth softened briefly. Three beautiful girls came to Sobibor on a
transport from Vienna. Groth took Ruth as his servant and mistress.
Seageant Poul, the drunk, smuggled the other two into the Merry Flea. Groth
fell in love with the dark-eyed teen-ager and, almost as a favor to her, or
so it seemed, stopped beating the other Jews. But the truce was
short-lived. It was against SS regulations to molest Jewesses - an insult
to the master race. Himmler was quite adament on that point. So while Groth
and Poul were on leave, Kommandant Reichleitner transferred both of them.
Groth ended up at Belzec.

The Sobibor Jews were delighted to see the two Nazis go, but Groth and Poul
were easily replaced, and life went on as usual. The empty winter days also
got to Kurt Bolander and Erich Bauer. Because there was little to do in Camp III
without Jews to gas, Bauer turned to vodka. He kept a private bar in his
room in the Swallow's Nest, and there Jews would come to mix drinks or make
eggnog. The short Nazi - he was under five feet six inches - would sit in
his armchair, facing a photograph of his wife and children and a portrait
of the Fu"hrer ... and drink himself into oblivion. If a prisoner spilled
any liquor or broke a bottle, the former street-car conductor would make
him wipe the floor with his tongue.

Bolander took out his frustration on the ten Jews who carried the swill
buckets from Camp I to the gate to Camp III. Bolander would make them run,
and if, as sometimes happened, the Jews in Camp III opened the gate before
the Jews from Camp I had left, Bolander would shoot the swill carriers.
Somehow, the Nazis had deluded themselves into believing that the Camp I
Jews didn't know what went on in Camp III. And they wanted to keep it that

The Nazis played other games that winter. They would tie the bottom of the
pants legs of a Jew and drop a rat into the trousers. If the prisoner
moved, they'd shoot him. They would shave one side of a man's head, half of
his mustache, and one eyebrow for laughs. They'd maek some skinny, tired
Jew push a wheelbarrow filled with sand until he collapsed, or make two
Jews cross their arms behind their backs and fight each other like cocks."(Rashke, 101-102)

                             Work Cited

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

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