The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/sobibor/sobibor.09

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Sobibor's New Administration (Summer, 42)
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Bauer,Frenzel,Niemann,Reichleitner,Sobibor,Stangl,Wagner

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/sobibor sobibor.09 
Last-modified: 1993/03/24

"With the expansion of the camp [ed: during the summer and early fall of 1942]
came a change in administration. Captain Stangl was promoted to Kommandant
of Treblinka, the larger death camp just beginning to exterminate the Jews
from the Warsaw ghetto. Captain Franz Reichleitner, Stangl's Austrian
friend from the old euthanasia program days, replaced him. Reichleitner was
a tall, heavyset soldier who walked with a grace one did not expect from a
large man. He was stricter than Stangl, but much more friendly and
accessible to the Germans and Ukrainians. The Jews rarely saw him, and when
they did, it was only to hear him shout, `Idiot, hurry up ... Idiot, faster
... Idiot, not that way, this way.' The Jews nicknamed him 'the Idiot.' His
office assistant was Johann Niemann, a slim, withdrawn man who kept to
himself and liked to ride around the camp on horseback. The Jews rarely saw
him, either. They nicknamed him `Johnnie.'

Under the new system, Gustav Wagner became a roving supervisor responsible
for the overall performance of the worker Jews; SS Sergeant Karl Fenzel was
placed in charge of Camp I and took over Wagner's duties when the Austrian
was on leave; SS Sergeant Erich Bauer was in charge of the gas chamber. The
Jews called him the Badmeister, `the Bathmaster.'


With the expansion came a new wave of Germanic discipline. The Jews were
divided into work brigades supervised by Kapos - Jews with whips and the
authority to use them. Whistles and bugles called them to get up, work,
eat, and sleep.


Work in Camp III was maddening. Jews committed suicide there or, unable to
eat or sleep, wore themselves out. Most just gave up and died. To make
matters even worse, Kapo Franz, appointed by the Nazis to supervise the
Camp III workers, went quite mad. He was only eighteen ... The fatigue,
horror, and the responsibility had gotten to Franz, and he began to think
of himself as an SS man and Jews as termites to be exterminated. Like an SS
officer, he wore shiny black boots, polished by some tired Jew, and pranced
around with his whip, arrogant and vain. His delusions had reached such a
state that he became even crueler than the Nazis and Ukrainians.


Out of sheer desperation, the Camp III Jews began digging a tunnel. When
the Nazis found out about it, ... they selected every second Jew ... and
lined them up. While the other fifty were ordered to sing a melancholy
German ballad, they shot the Jews two at a time." (Rashke, 53)

                            Work Cited:
Rashke, Richard. Escape From Sobibor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 
Company, 1982). 

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