Holocaust SS Officer’s Photos Reveal Sobibor Death Camp

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Holocaust SS Officer’s Photos Reveal Sobibor Death Camp

Holocaust: SS officer’s photos reveal Sobibor death camp

Previously unseen photos from the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland have been unveiled, including two purported to show notorious guard John Demjanjuk.

The Ukrainian was jailed in Munich in 2011 as a war criminal but died during the appeal process in 2012, aged 91.

Two photos, out of 361 from Sobibor and other camps, show Demjanjuk, a German Holocaust research centre says.

About 1.7 million Jews were murdered at Sobibor and two other camps in 1941-43.

Gas chambers were used at Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec to kill Jews from ghettos in occupied Poland, in what Nazi Germany called “Operation Reinhard”.

Hardly any photos of Sobibor existed previously, so the find provides a wealth of new details about Nazi atrocities

The photos displayed by the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin belonged to former SS deputy commandant Johann Niemann, and were handed over by his grandson in 2015.

Some photos show SS guards relaxing with alcohol and entertainment at Sobibor – not far from where Jews were being slaughtered.

The photos chart Niemann’s Nazi career, including places where disabled people were murdered, in the so-called T4 “euthanasia” programme, and the Sachsenhausen and Belzec camps.

Niemann was killed by an axe-wielding Jewish inmate during a prisoner uprising in October 1943. The SS later destroyed Sobibor to wipe out evidence of their mass murder.The photo presentation comes just a day after international commemorations for the 1.1 million people – mostly Jews – murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp 75 years ago.

Demjanjuk was found guilty in 2011 of involvement in the murders of 28,000 Jews at Sobibor. He denied having served there, or having had any role in the Holocaust.

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He had spent decades working as a car mechanic in the US before being extradited – first to Israel, then to Germany.

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The SS trained auxiliaries from occupied Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union to assist in the mass murder of Jews and other minorities. These helpers, recruited from among captured Soviet soldiers, were called “Trawniki men” by the Germans.

An Israeli court sentenced Demjanjuk to death in 1988, but the verdict was overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court in 1993 because of doubts about his identity.

But investigators were not convinced by Demjanjuk’s claims, and in 2009 he was extradited from the US to Germany, where he was found guilty and jailedPart of Sobibor camp is seen in the photo below. Taken from a watchtower in early 1943, it shows woodpiles where slave labourers worked and, beyond that, SS accommodation and other buildings for the German guards.

Holocaust SS Officer’s Photos Reveal Sobibor Death Camp

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