At the end of 2008 the governments of Poland, The Netherlands, Slowakia and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding that the former extermination camp Sobibor will be redesigned. The redesign entails that the site will become an official Polish state museum and that the site will get a new visitor center.
At the end of 2015 the Sobibor Foundation escalated the situation as there was more or less no progress made. Next to the archeological excavations and the demolishing of the existing museum lead a deadlock in the actual redesign since 2014. In the first half of 2016 the Sobibor Foundation spoke to the various stakeholders in the various countries, such as the Dutch State Secretary Martin Van Rijn, the embassadors of Slowakia and Poland both located in the Netherlands, representatives of Yad Vashem and the recently appointed Polish State Secretary Jarosław Sellin. All countries and stakeholders are in agreement that the project needs to make progress.
The latest updates:
- The former extermination camp is currently officially closed for visitors due to the construction works that are going on. The Remembrance Lane remains untouched during this phase of the construction. In case you plan to visit the camp, make sure that you contact the museum prior to your visit and announce your visit so they can confirm your visit.
- The Polish government has appointed in the middle of 2016 a dedicated project manager. In March 2017 the project manager moved on and was replaced. The foundation is meeting up with the new project manager in May 2017.
- The artefacts that were found during the archeological excavations and haven’t been handed over yet to the museum in Majdanek for conservation will be transferred in phases. There has been a delay in the initial timeline. All parties do their utmost to finalize the transfer as soon as possible
- The main priority at this moment is to cover the ash fields. It was not uncommon to find bone remains in the grass of the ash fields, therefore it is important that these fields are covered. This also means that visitors won’t be able to walk up to the ash mound in the future but only can watch over the fields and mound from a distance. The covering of the ash fields has started, below a bird view of the ash fields at the end of April 2017.
- The Request for Quotation is prepared for the construction of the new visitor center. The plan is that the RFQ will be sent out in the first quarter of 2017 and the construction starts later this year
- In October/November 2016 more archeological excavations were done around the haircutting barack and the living barack in Camp 3 (the camp where the gas chambers were located). We are waiting for the report from the archeologist.
- There is discussion about the location of the future parking lot. The latest news is that the parking lot will be located between the chapel and the entrance of the museum along the public road, during the WWII this area was located outside the camp.
- The target is to finalize the redesign by the end of 2018, which is 75 years after the uprising in 1943
- Once the museum is opened, people can lay stones again in the international Remembrance Lane
The Sobibor Foundation is excited that finally steps are taken, progress is made and that laying stones in the Remembrance Lane is confirmed to be continued in the future. We will continue to watch the developments and will keep you posted on this page.
The original plan for the museum and site you can find here.
Last update made: April 2017