Europe

Sobibor death camp survivor Arkady Waispapir dies at 96

Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp set up in the Lublin region of occupied Poland Image copyright US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Image caption Sobibor was built by the Nazis solely to exterminate Jews

One of the last known survivors of the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor has died in Ukraine at the age of 96.

Arkady Waispapir was captured by the Germans while serving in the Soviet Army and was sent to the camp because he was Jewish.

He was one of the few spared immediate death in the gas chambers by being sent to do camp maintenance work.

More than 250,000 Jews are believed to have been killed at Sobibor, in Nazi-occupied eastern Poland from 1942-43.

In October 1943, Waispapir and seven other inmates led a rebellion using knives, hatchets and captured firearms against the Ukrainian and German guards.

Nearly half of the camp's 600 prisoners managed to escape but 100 of them were caught almost immediately. Out of those who escaped, only 47 survived World War Two.

Waispapir lost his entire family during the German occupation of Ukraine. He married after the war and had two sons.

He died in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, to where he had moved in 1994 after working in cities in the east of the country.

Image copyright US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Image caption Aerial view of the Nazi death camp at Sobibor

Unlike some facilities which also functioned as labour camps, Sobibor was among the Nazi camps built solely to exterminate Jews.

After the 1943 uprising, the Nazi guards shot dead all the remaining prisoners and destroyed the camp. They planted it over in an attempt to cover up their crimes.

But archaeologists have since discovered the foundations of gas chambers and a train platform.

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