Jewish Resistance Armed Resistance in Death Camps
Treblinka • On August 2nd of 1943, there was a daring attempt at revolt within the Treblinka concentration camp (which was located 60 miles north east of Warsaw). • By this time, Treblinka served only as a death camp – of the several thousand prisoner population, there were only 700 Jews during the revolt. • The prisoners rioted by means of killing over 20 German guards and then fleeing through gaps in the barbed wire, effectively escaping the camp. • All but an estimated 150-200 Jews survived the blowing up of the camp. Only 12 in total survived the war.
Sobibor • Sobibor (which was located 100 miles east of the Polish capital of Warsaw) was almost used for exterminations only, which during that time had 600 prisoners – kept alive only to run the camp. • This is the most famous revolt from Jewish resistance, led by a Russian POW named Alexander Pechorski; whom had been a prisoner for only three weeks. • On October 14th of 1943, the 600 Jewish and Russian prisoners managed to escape the camp by killing most of the guards and SS officers patrolling the camp. (10 SS guards were killed, and 1 wounded). • Only a third of the Jews survived, with historians estimating that the Sobibor camp as a means of extermination, killed around 350,000 Jews. • About 60 of 600 prisoners involved in the escape survived to join Soviet partisans.
Auschwitz • On October 7th1944, in one of the most dangerous missions, one of the four crematoria at Auschwitz was blown up. • This was done by “Sonderkommandos”who were Jewish workers forced to clear away the bodies of gas chamber victims. • The SS men had 15 casualties of whom about 12 were injured and 3were killed; one of the killed SS was pushed alive into a crematorium oven after being stabbed by a member of the Sonderkommando. • Some of the Sonderkommando escaped from the camp for a period, however they were recaptured later the same day.They were eventually forced to strip, lie face down, and then were shot in the back of the head. A total of 451 Sonderkommandos were killed on this day.