Underground tunnel discovered at Sobibor

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Polish and Israeli archaeologists have discovered traces of an underground tunnel at the site of the former death camp in Sobibor.

The tunnel, whose discovery was announced on Wednesday, ran from one of the barracks to outside the fence of the camp. It may have been dug by the prisoners of the Sonderkommando who worked in the camp burning the corpses of murdered Jews.

The archeology work at Sobibor is directed by Wojciech Mazurek of Chelm, Poland and Yoram Haimi of Israel.

In Sobibor, Nazis murdered Jews about 250,000 Jews mostly from Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The camp was closed following an uprising on Oct. 14, 1943; about half the remaining prisoners escaped during the uprising.

Though the tunnel discovered by the archaeologists would have helped the prisoners to escape, Mazurek does not believe that anyone used it. “The Germans found the tunnel and therefore shot and then burned the entire crew of the Sonderkommando,” Mazurek told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

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