Oral History

Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt describes the selection process in the Sobibor killing center

Tomasz was born to a Jewish family in Izbica. After the war began in September 1939, the Germans established a ghetto in Izbica. Tomasz's work in a garage initially protected him from roundups in the ghetto. In 1942 he tried to escape to Hungary, using false papers. He was caught but managed to return to Izbica. In April 1943 he and his family were deported to Sobibor. Tomasz escaped during the Sobibor uprising. He went into hiding and worked as a courier in the Polish underground.


And now he start to ask the men, "Who's a carpenter? Who's a mechanic?" And I was no mechanic. What could a fifteen-year-old boy be? But I did want to live so much. And wherever the Nazi moved, my eyes went after him. And I really believe...I really believe that...uh...my strong will--I believe that people could be influenced, that something is between people, some interaction. You don't need to say it. And I felt that actually I influenced the German. When he was moving back and forth and our eyes met and my strong will said, "Please take me inside," he stopped, looked at me, and said, "Come out you, du kleine [little one]." I should come out. And I still believe that this was my strong will. I--something was which emitted from me to him. I still really, truly believe. And...uh...he told me to go out. My father didn't want to go out. He beat him. And later when he assembled about forty people, he told the rest to go in the same way [as] the women, and he left. In this way I started to work in Sobibor.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
View Archival Details

This content is available in the following languages

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.