Together with Treblinka and Belzec, Sobibor was part of the so-called Aktion Reinhard, the organization set up by the Nazis to manage these three extermination camps. Between 150,000 and 250,000 Jews were murdered in Sobibor. Most of them were gassed in the gas chambers immediately upon arrival. About 600 'Arbeitsjuden' did forced labour for the Nazis permanently. They were subject to ill-treatment, humiliation, and the continuous fear of being killed.
In October 1943 a revolt broke out among the camp inmates. Two or three hundred of them managed to break out, after a small group of inmates had killed ten SS men and a few Ukranians. The revolt was headed by Leon Feldhendler and Alexander (Sasha) Pechersky. As far as we know, 47 people of those who fled eventually survived the war. After the revolt the camp was razed to the ground in order to keep the mass murder secret. The hundreds of inmates that were left were shot by the Nazis. The importance of the revolt is immense, for it is only thanks to this revolt, which was unique in history, and to the fact that so many people managed to escape, that we know the Sobibor extermination camp existed.
Jews from the Netherlands
One third of the Dutch Jews were killed in Sobibor. 34,313 Jews were transported from the Netherlands to the extermination camp, and about 33,000 of them were gassed, including 1,269 children from childrens' transports from Kamp Vught. The names of these persons are known because they were on the transportation lists that were drafted in Westerbork and have been preserved.
Today Sobibor is a site of remembrance. Since its institution in 1999 the Sobibor Foundation has worked to preserve the memory of the Sobibor extermination camp. In 2003 a Lane of Remembrance was opened, and so far over 250 stones have been placed there in memory of named victims of Sobibor. The foundation organizes memorial and study trips to Sobibor every year.