Middle East

Last known survivor of Sobibor death camp uprising dies aged 96

Semion Rosenfeld. File photo Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Semion Rosenfeld moved to Israel from Ukraine in 1990

Semion Rosenfeld - the last known survivor of the uprising at the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor - has died in Israel aged 96.

Rosenfeld, who was born in Ukraine, passed away at a retirement home near Tel Aviv.

Rosenfeld was captured by the Germans while serving in the Soviet Army in 1941 and sent to the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland because he was Jewish.

In October 1943, he managed to escape together with some 300 prisoners.

A third of the escapees were caught almost immediately. Of the 200 who got out, only 47 survived World War Two.

More than 250,000 Jews are believed to have been killed at Sobibor in 1942-43.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to Rosenfeld.

"He joined the Red Army, was captured by the Nazis but managed to escape from the death camp and continued to fight the Nazis," Mr Netanyahu wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.

"May his memory be a blessing," he wrote.

Image copyright US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Image caption Sobibor was built by the Nazis solely to exterminate Jews

Isaac Herzog, the head of Israel's Jewish Agency who had been providing support to Rosenfeld, said he was "very sad". He described Rosenfeld as a "true hero".

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, before planting it over in an attempt to cover up their crimes.

Archaeologists later discovered the foundations of gas chambers and a train platform.

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Media captionSurvivor warns Holocaust "began with whispers"

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