SS SONDERKOMMANDO SOBIBOR – THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF EXTERMINATION
New extended gas chambers building became operational in the German death camp SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor in October 1942.
Originally, it was a wooden structure placed on a stone and concrete foundation. It consisted of three rooms measuring about 4m by 5.30m and an annex where a gasoline engine was located in. It emitted fumes that led to the victims’ death. After about 20 minutes, the corpses were dragged out of the chambers and buried in the nearby mass graves.
As a part of the expansion, four rooms measuring about 5m by 7m (5.05m x 6.80m to be exact) and connected with a corridor to the already existing building, were created. The previous annex, where the engine was located, was adapted for the next cell. To build it, the Germans used red bricks obtained from the demolition of the Jewish houses at the ghetto in Włodawa. As a result, a chamber that consisted of eight cells was created, and thus it almost doubled its original capacity.
In October 14, 1943, after 18 months of functioning of SS Sonderkommando Sobibor, an armed uprising broke out, which led to the escape of some of the prisoners, and the liquidation of the camp. Then all the usable elements of the infrastructure were exported. To conceal their crime, the Germans blew up the gas chamber building and planted a forest in the place of the mass graves.