A recent archeological dig has exposed the remains of the gas chambers at the Sobibor Concentration Camp in Poland. Around 250,000 Jews were brutally murdered there from April 1942 to October 1943. The Germans destroyed the camp and planted a forest over it to cover up their deeds.
Semion Rosenfeld, 92 years old, resides in Amigour's Derech Hashalom" Sheltered Home in Tel Aviv. He is probably the last survivor of Sobibor.
“They were death chambers”, Semion recalls. “I didn’t believe they would be found,” Rosenfeld added. “The Nazis destroyed the entire camp, they demolished everything. I don’t know what you can find there now.”
Semion was born in Ukraine and in 1940 he was drafted by the Red Army. After one year he fell into German captivity and was sent along with 230 other Jewish prisoners to Minsk to set up a work camp. Eventually he was transferred to Sobibor.
“In September 1943 they brought us from the Minsk ghetto. We were Jewish soldiers in the Red Army who were imprisoned by the Germans. The Germans separated the Jews from the non-Jews, but they were afraid to kill us because we were prisoners of war. There were around 80 Jews from Minsk in Sobibor. We were there for twenty days up until the uprising, when I managed to escape.
During the uprising a number of SS soldiers were killed and around 300 prisoners escaped. Fifty of them survived the war.
Afterward when the rebel leader Alexander Picharski asked him if he was capable of killing a man with an axe, Simeon answered: “I cannot murder a man. But I can kill a Nazi.” At the time of the revolt he was 21. “I was not afraid because I didn’t have the time to think about fear. I thought only about life.”