Jewish life »
Which Jewish customs and traditions are referred to by the interviewees? Did they observe Jewish holidays before the Second World War? What role does their Jewishness play now? This section deals with Jewish life in the Netherlands and Poland.
Before the Second World War most Eastern European Jews lived in shtetls. The traditional shtetl, that typically Jewish community in which all or most residents were Jewish, didn't survive the Shoah.
Life before the war »
In this section interviewees recollect their lives before the Second World War. The large majority of them grew up in Jewish Amsterdam. They tell about their childhood, recalling more or less beautiful aspects of family life...
When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands persecution of Jews began: registration, segregation, robbery, and deportation. Many people have recollections of the yellow Star of David badge and the round-ups.
Life during the war »
Daily life was becoming more and more difficult for Jews during the German occupation. Persecution gradually became more intrusive and more gruesome. People tried to carry on with their everyday lives as long as they could.
Jews in the Netherlands must have sensed that life under German occupation was going to be hard and unpleasant for them. But what did they expect, what exactly did they think?
In hiding »
Part of the interviewees survived the war in hiding. Members of this group were in hiding with a non-Jewish foster family in the Netherlands as a baby or infant. A number of those surviving Sobibor found a hiding place in Poland after the revolt.
Camps & ghettos »
There were three transit camps and one SS concentration camp in the Netherlands during the German occupation. Interviewees recollect their experiences in Westerbork and Vught. Camp life in Germany and Poland is also discussed.
Many interviewees are ambiguous about the liberation. They survived the war, but at what cost? Relatives and loved ones had been killed. Feelings of gratitude were mixed with feelings of mourning and loss.
Life after the war »
How did it feel when many did not return after the war? Interviewees recollect how they resumed their lives, shaped by such huge losses.
Rebuilding lives »
So many people, so many different lives. Each of the interviewees have their own way of coping with the enormous loss that bears the name of Sobibor.
Consequences of Sobibor »
Interviewees lost loved ones and relatives in Sobibor. Here they talk freely about the role these losses still play in their lives.
Demjanjuk trial »
Next of kin to people killed in Sobibor, and survivors of the revolt played a major role as co-plaintiffs during the Demjanjuk trial.
2,000 testimonials »
The Jewish Historical Museum made two thousand interviews from the archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute accessible to the public.
The Sobiborinterviews.nl website is published by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
This website revolves around thirteen interviews with survivors of the revolt that broke out in the Sobibor destruction camp on October 14, 1943.
Sometimes emotional, sometimes detached, they talk about their lives being disrupted by the war, the degrading conditions in the camp, their escape and their lives after the war. The leader of the uprising, Pecherski, gives a detailed account of the preparation and execution of the mass escape.