Leader of the Sobibor Revolt
I was born in Kremenchug in 1919, but spent my childhood in Rostov. After I finished my secondary studies I entered a music school. Music and theatre were the most important things in my life. I directed amateur dramatic circles and took a great interest in the arts.
In 1941 I joined the army with the rank of second lieutenant, and was soon promoted to first lieutenant. Taken prisoner in October 1941, I caught typhus, but concealed the disease, fearing to be killed.
In May 1942, I tried to escape with four other prisoners, but we were caught and were sent first to the disciplinary camp of Borysov and then to Minsk. During a medical examination it was discovered that I was Jewish. I was locked up with other Jews in a place nicknamed “the Jewish cellar,” where we spent ten days in complete darkness.
We were allowed 100 grams of bread a day and a jug of water. Then on September 20 1942 we were transferred to the labour camp of Sheroka Street in Minsk, where I lived until my deportation to Sobibor.
In September 1943 we were told that Jews would be transferred to Germany, but that families would not be separated. At 4am a silent crowd left Minsk, the men on foot, women and children in trucks.
We gathered at the railway station where a freight train awaited us. Seventy people were crowded into a box-car, and after four days we reached Sobibor. We stopped during the night and were given water. The doors opened, and facing us, was a poster Sonderkommando Sobibor.
Tired and hungry, we left the car. Armed SS officers stood there and Oberscharfuhrer Gomerski shouted “Cabinet makers and carpenters with no families forward.”
Eighty men were led into the camp and locked in a barrack. Older prisoners informed us about Sobibor. We had all fought in the war and suffered in labour camps but we were so horrified about Sobibor that we could not sleep that night.
Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/pechersky.html
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
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