Sobibor Foundation

The Sobibor  Foundation was founded in 1999 by Jules Schelvis, the only survivor of the 14th transport to the Sobibor Extermination Camp originating from the Netherlands.

Jules Schelvis

Jules Schelvis

The foundation is mainly supported by relatives, friends and all those who feel a connection to this location. After the Second World War there was hardly any room for the survivors to tell their stories. Most Dutch survived the “hunger winter”.  Once liberated the Netherlands started with rebuilding the society. In this situation most survivors, amongst them Jules Schelvis, tried to forget the horrors and find a new meaning in life.  When Jules retired in the eighties and had more free time he started to write about his experiences during the war. In 1982 he published Binnen de poorten, the book about his camp experiences. In 1993 he published Vernietigingskamp Sobibor, that was seen in The Netherlands and Germany as a scientific publication. Because of these publications more attention was drawn to Sobibor. In 1999 the Sobibor Foundation was founded. The mission of this foundation is to preserve the memories of Sobibor, the camp where 34.313 Jews from The Netherlands were murdered by gassing. These memories can be preserved in many ways. One of the bigger projects was a monument that was called “Signs in Westerbork”. Reoccuring activities are lectures in The Netherlands and Germany about Sobibor. Another project is a theatre project, as in 1995 and 2007 Binnen de poorten and in 2004 De opstand in Sobibor.

Signs in Westerbork

Since a few years the Sobibor Foundation is more focussed on the youth and organises educational projects. The foundation contributed on the realisation of a DVD about Jewish children in Camp Vught. This DVD aims on making the youth aware about intolerance, discrimination en persecution by the stories of the Jewish children that were in the camp.
In 2015 the foundation has begun with a teacher’s project. Teachers from highschools are financially supported for a field trip to the former Aktion Reinhard camps. In this way we try to get the knowledge about this part of history to a higher level. More information about this project can be found here.

We cooperate with the German foundation Bildungswerk Stanislaw Hantz (BSH) and together we try to find new ways to broaden our goals. An example is the annual field trip to the former Aktion Reinhard camps in nazi occupied Eastern-Poland that we organise together.

In 2011 we initiated a second foundation, Stichting Sobibor Initiatieven (SSI). In this foundation projects are initiated with a lot of costs that could form a risk to the normal activities of the Sobibor Foundation.

Sobibor Foundation
Postbus 51261
1007 EG  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
email: link

Christine Gispen, chairman
Ingrid Zylstra, secretary
Marijke Sterman-Vleeschdraager, treasurer
Matthijs van der Tang, boardmember
Petra van den Boomgaard, boardmember
Gerben Hoogterp, boardmember

The Sobibor Foundation has a special cultural status in the Netherlands, the so-called Cultural ANBI status and is supported by ten ambassadors.

last update: May 19, 2019