Oral History

Esther Raab describes the uprising in Sobibor

Esther was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Chelm, Poland. In December 1942, she was deported from a work camp to the Sobibor killing center in occupied Poland. Upon arrival at Sobibor, Esther was selected to work in a sorting shed. She sorted clothing and the possessions of the people killed at the camp. During the summer and fall of 1943, Esther was among a group of prisoners in the Sobibor camp who planned an uprising and escape. Leon Feldhendler and Aleksandr (Sasha) Pechersky were the leaders of the group. The revolt took place on October 14, 1943. German and Ukrainian guards opened fire on the prisoners, who were unable to reach the main gate and thus had to try and escape through the minefield around the camp; about 300 escaped. Over 100 of them were recaptured and shot. Esther was among those who escaped and survived.



  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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