Death camp dig reveals hidden gas chambers in Sobibor, Poland
The concentration camps of World War II (WWII) will forever live on in infamy because of the horrendous acts that were committed within their walls. In an article published Sept. 18, 2014, by Reuters, archaeologists who have been digging out the remains of the death camp in Sobibor, Poland, finally discovered the gas chambers within the camp.
The article states that the camp had eight gas chambers. The Holocaust Research Project reports that Jews were forced to build the camp which was opened in 1942. The killings began in May 1942 by pumping carbon monoxide into the gas chambers. Once the Jews were dead, the bodies were taken out and buried in mass graves. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states that in the fall of 1942, the Germans had the bodies dug up and burned and the bones ground to powder in an attempt to get rid of the evidence of what was happening at Sobibor.
As the life of the camp was winding down, Jews within the camp decided to stage an uprising, and on Oct. 14, 1943, 300 Jews escaped. Of those escapees, 100 were captured and returned to the camp, according to the museum. On Oct. 20, 1943, after killing a minimum of 170,000 Jews, the dismantling of the camp began and was basically completed within a month.
According to Reuters, the chambers were later covered in asphalt. During the excavation, many personal items of the Jews were recovered including a wedding ring that was inscribed with, "Behold, you are consecrated unto me."
Although the Germans tried to remove all evidence of the heinous crimes that were committed at Sobibor, Auschwitz and Dachau, the memories of those who suffered and the archaeological evidence remain. Since so few people survived Sobibor, the findings of this dig are invaluable as they allow historians to fill in missing pieces to the puzzle and as they give closure to family members who lost loved ones at this camp.