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Last known survivor of Nazi Sobibor death camp dies at 96

The Polish Sobibor death camp was named after its closest train station. It was at this station that Jews disembarked from unbearably cramped trains, unsure of their fate.

Jews from Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union were killed in three gas chambers fed by the deadly fumes of a large petrol engine taken from a tank.

When they entered to camp, Jews were ordered to hand over their valuables, separated by gender and forced to undress.

Women and young girls were met by Nazi commandos who chopped off their hair before leading them down the 300 feet long ‘Road to Heaven’ to the gas chambers – where they were killed with carbon monoxide

An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the camp. Some estimations put the figure at 250,000. This would place Sobibor as the fourth worst extermination camp after Belzec, Treblinka and Auschwitz. 

It was part of Operation Reinhard – the deadliest phase of the Holocaust in German occupied Poland.

The camp was located about 50 miles from the provincial Polish capital of Brest-on-the-Bug. Its official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor.

Prisoners launched a heroic escape on October 14 1943 in which 600 men, women and children succeeded in crossing the camp’s perimeter fence. 

Of those, only 50 managed to evade capture. It is unclear how many crossed into allied territory.

In the wake of the escape the Germans closed the camp, bulldozing it to the ground. It its place they painted pine trees to conceal its location.

Today the site if home to the Sobibor Museum, which displays a pyramid of ashes and crushed bones of the victims collected from the site’s cremation pits.