On 25 October, during our annual commemoration of the uprising in collaboration with the Resistance Museum, the focus was on the leader of the Sobibor uprising, Sasha Pechersky. It is exactly 75 years ago this year that the uprising took place in Sobibor. Of the 600 Jews who worked in the camp, 300 people were able to flee the camp. Nearly 50 Jews eventually survived the war. Sasha Pechersky led this uprising. Selma Leydesdorff wrote a book about his life and his role in the uprising.
Petra van den Boomgaard opened the afternoon on behalf of the Sobibor Foundation and welcomed everyone. The attendance was above expectations and besides familiar faces, there were also new participants to greet. She gave the floor to Liesbeth van der Horst, director of the Resistance Museum, which, in collaboration with Stichting Sobibor, organizes the annual commemoration in the museum. Van der Horst refuted the idea in her speech that during the Second World War the Jews allowed themselves to be led to the slaughterhouse as soggy sheep. Many examples of Jewish resistance can be mentioned, including those of the uprising in Sobibor.
After the opening a compilation of a fascinating documentary was shown about the life and eyewitness accounts of survivors of the uprising and in particular Sasha Pecherski, the Russian-Jewish leader of the uprising. It was the introduction to the interview with Selma Leydesdorff by former chairman of the Sobibor Foundation, Jetje Manheim. Expertly and with enormous knowledge, she asked Selma how she had worked with writing the book about the hero Sasha Pecherski and whether she had succeeded in rehabilitating him in his eyes and that of his native Russia. Selma thought so, but also had to conclude that Pecherski finally died as a disappointed man in 1990.
During the meeting there was also a moment’s silence to commemorate all the victims of the Sobibor extermination camp.
Thanks to the Resistance Museum for making this possible again. Afterwards we had drinks and chats with each other in the hall of the museum and everyone could have his / her book about Pecherski signed by Selma Leydesdorff.