Foto’s uit Sobibor

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All photos: © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)

Trawniki-platoon in Sobibor, with a view of murder section (“Lager III“)

Shot in the spring of 1943 on the training ground in front of “Lager III”, this photo shows the roofs of buildings located in the camp’s murder section in the background and (on the left) the barracks in which Jewish women were forced to have their hair cut. The roof with the chimney-like structure was part of the gas chamber building. At the time the photo was taken, Ivan Demjanjuk was serving as a Trawniki guard in Sobibor; according to forensic experts, it is probable that he is depicted in the middle of the first row, facing the camera.



Seated on a paddle-boat next to the fence of “T4“-site Brandenburg are (from left to right) Karl Pötzinger, Johann Niemann and Siegfried Graetschus, all three responsible for burning the bodies of the murdered victims, in summer 1940. Niemann added the caption “Brandenburg“ to this album photograph.





Belzec death camp

Non-German auxiliaries (Trawnikis) posing for shooting training under the leadership of Johann Niemann (pictured in the center) in the courtyard of the Belzec commandant’s building, spring 1942.




Gate of Sobibor death camp

Through this gate, pictured in the spring of 1943, Jews arriving on foot, on trucks or horse-drawn carts were driven into the camp (the train tracks entered the camp at a different point located further to the right). Clearly visible are the fir twigs were woven into the camp fence to obstruct the view from the outside. Mordechai Goldfarb remembered in a West German court testimony dated January 29, 1962: “‘Sonderkommando Sobibor‘, that’s what it said in white letters on a black sign, black flags fluttering on both sides of the sign.”




Elevated view of Sobibor camp sections “Lager I“ and “Vorlager“

Taken from a guard tower in early summer 1943, this photograph shows “Lager I“ (workshops with forced laborers) and “Vorlager” (near the train tracks with the living quarters and other buildings for German camp staff). Two Jewish forced laborers can be seen near the left margin of the photo respectively between the firewood piles near the inner fence. To the right between the inner and outer fence, two Trawniki guards on patrol are visible. Both fences run in the direction of the train station on the right (with the whitish roof).

Group photo on the terrace of the new officers‘ mess (Kasino) in Sobibor

Depicted are (from left to right) camp guards Arthur Dachsel, Franz Reichleitner, Johann Niemann, likely Erich Schulze and Erich Bauer, with two female kitchen staff and a visiting member of the German customs service (Zollgrenzschutz). The drinking glasses on the table attest to the frequent use of alcohol by German camp staff and might have belonged to murdered Jewish arrivals in Sobibor.

Niemann posing on horseback on the Sobibor ramp

This photograph (developed in mirror image) from summer 1943 was shot from the train tracks and shows (on the lower-left corner) a section of the timber-framed station ramp (Rampe) where the deportation trains arrived. In the background, a barrack (located in “Vorlager”) housing Trawnikis can be seen.





Berlin-trip of Sobibor camp staff with officials of the Führer Chancellery (Kanzlei des Führers)

Next to Niemann (center) are (from left to right) likely Arnold Oels, head of the Kanzlei des Führers personnel section responsible for “Operation Reinhard“- and “T4“-staff; Dietrich Allers, Oels’ boss at the “T4“-office; (with glasses) Werner Blankenburg, head of Kanzlei des Führers office II, and Trawniki sergeant (Zugwachmann) Franz Bienemann.