“Waclaw (born in 1931) was going to pick berries near Sobibor. At the station, he saw a convoy of Pullman cars with foreign Jews waiting on the platform. They asked where the factory was where they would work… Later on, as he walked past the camp, he heard screams, while trawniki guards tried to cover the noise by playing the harmonica”.
During this 16-day investigation, Yahad-In Unum interviewed 60 witnesses, and identified 24 execution sites of Jews, most of which did not have a memorial.
Region of Lublin
Investigated towns/villages: Pawlov, Czerniejow, Sajczyce, Lowcza, Ilowa, Orchowek, Debow, Slawatycze, Wiznice, Dubica, Rozwadowka, Lyniew, Wereszcyn, Andrejow, Swiersczow, Sobibor, Luta, Adampol, Urszulin, Stary Brus, Sosnowica, Debowa Kolda, Parcew, Leczna, Komarowka Podlaska, Jablon, Bialka, Jamy, Ostrow Lubelski, Paleczina, Wohyn, Lukow.
The Germans occupied the region in which the Yahad team investigated as early as September 1939, and the region was liberated in 1944.
There were fewer planned mass shootings of Jews in comparison with other regions. This is due to the fact that most Jews were deported to the extermination camp of Sobibor. As for the shooting “technique”, only in exceptional cases were Jews killed on the edge of pits that had been dug for the purpose of their execution, as was the case farther east.
The main characteristics of the genocide in this region are the following:
– The creation of a few ghettos in the major towns.
– Random shootings, often improvised, but no major mass shootings.
– The creation of the extermination camp, Sobibor, which operated from the spring of 1942 until the fall of 1943, where Polish and foreign Jews were killed.
– In the region around Sobibor, the creation of small labor camps for Jews.
The Yahad team found evidence of these characteristics as well as of pacification operations. In several investigated cases, shootings took place as reprisals against the local population for helping Jews or simply as a means of terrorizing the locals.