History Today Subscription offer.

Sobibór: The Other Great Escape

October 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the mass breakout from Sobibór death camp. Althea Williams recalls an extraordinary event that is today largely forgotten.

Not the end of the line: Sobibór station in 2009, the time of Demjanjuk's trial

 We knew our fate. We knew that we were in an extermination camp and death was our destiny. We knew that even a sudden end to the war might spare the inmates of the ‘normal’ concentration camps, but never us. Only desperate actions could shorten our suffering and maybe afford us a chance of escape. And the will to resist had grown and ripened.

(Thomas Toivi Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibór: A Story of Survival)

Sobibór, Belzec and Treblinka extermination camps were situated in the part of eastern Poland the Nazis called the General Government. Created in 1942, they were a key element in Operation Reinhard, the plan to murder all Jews in the region and the first phase of the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’, the eradication of all European Jews.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week