Sobibor: Free at Last

June 1, 2010
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July 30th 1943

Finally we got off the trains. I had no water or food. It was packed very tightly with people, so tight I could barely move. As the train slowed down so did the talking on the train. No one knew what was to come. I was so nervous, like many on the train. We gathered all of our luggage and gave it to strangers who said we would get it back. “Tell them you have a trade,” another Jew working for the Nazis told me. All I could do was nod. I was so afraid I could barely speak. As I walked to the field with the Germans yelling at us I saw a baby shot. Shot. I could not believe my eyes, what kind of monster would do that? I almost started to cry but remembered what my father, the only family member left I knew who was alive, had said. He told me never to cry or show any pain in front of the Nazis. One of the few ways to resist.

The Germans pushed us all with their guns. “Filthy Jews,” they said. They didn’t touch us with their hands. I did not know what to do. I was without a family and had nothing. They told us women and children to the left and men to the right. I stepped to the left afraid to do anything that would get me noticed. I could end up like that baby. The Nazis told us if we worked we would be fine. They asked, “Who is a seamstress?” Remembering what the man told me I spoke up. “I am”
“What is your age?” the German replied.
“17, sir”
“Good…step forward”
I took a step forward. Everything was so blurry. I had a million questions. Why am I here? What did I do wrong? Will I be killed? Can I escape? Where is my family? A German interrupted my thoughts with a gun to my head. “Move Jew!” he said, “the other seamstresses have left, keep up!” He pulled his gun away and I ran after the men and women with trades, the others went away. Where am I?

August 29th, 1943

As I woke up I heard the bell. The Germans started to yell. It was time for the morning role call. I got up out of my small wood cell I shared with a friend and walked quickly to the field. There were 5 men standing next to the Nazis. Why are they there? I asked myself. Maybe they were being set free! Maybe all of us were! “These men tried to escape last night! For this, they are being punished!” the Nazi said. Then I saw the place were they hang people. I was wrong. They were going to kill them. I can’t watch, I told myself. They pushed the escapers to their death. I heard cries and tears, people saying good-bye to their loved ones. “Remember, this camp is in the middle of no where so do not try to escape,” the Nazi yelled, “Go to work!”

We got breakfast, the usual watery soup and stale bread, and then went to our workstations. I went to the sewing room and continued sewing endless uniforms for the German soldiers at war. I can’t do this. This place is terrible. When the Nazis said work to be fine they mean work to live. This place is killing us because of our religion. I have to get out. I cannot stay in Sobibor any longer if I want to live.

October 14, 1943

Today was the day we would escape. A few weeks ago my friend Chaim told me he heard but knew little of an escape plan. I asked Chaim’s friend, he told me the plan. We would have to kill all the SS soldiers to have any chance. We would tell all the soldiers at different time that they needed to try on shoes or coats. We would then kill them.

Today was the day. I was in charge of killing 1 SS soldier. Even though it was only 1, I still wanted to help. As I walked up to the Nazi I was so nervous. “Sir, your boots are finished, they are in the shed”
“Fine, I will try them on later,” the SS said.
“Now would be best, sir,” I replied.
He gave me a scowl and then marched to the boot shed. This is it, I thought to myself. He walked in and I sat him down and put the boots on. Chaim crept up behind him and stabbed him. He shouted the names of his family member for each stab. He was dead.

So far everything was going well until another SS officer did not go to the shed. This ruined everything, we would be caught. It was already 4 and role call had just been called. As I walked there I heard two other Jews yelling, “Run, everyman for himself!” I ran to the gate. The Nazi’s were shooting everywhere. I heard screams and guns. It was chaos. I was climbing over a barbed wire fence. My hands bleeding, my feet cut. I got over and had to run through the minefields. The person running next to me blew up into smoke. I saw dead people everywhere. I ran faster. Boom! More guns. I kept running. 10 feet away from the forest, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! I was there! I was free at last!

We kept running for another 30 minutes, to afraid to stop. When we all couldn’t run anymore we stopped for camp. We all rested then saw who died. Many were upset, including myself. I lost one of my very close friends. Tears streamed down my face, yet I didn’t notice. I wasn’t crying because I lost my friend but tears of joy. I was finally free.

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