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- Prof. Noah Charney
I reckon Wolzek is now solved.
Those surviving are sent to special camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. Once there they are mass-murdered.
"Poland Tells Nazi Plan to Exterminate Half of Jews"
Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, WA), November 24, 1942, p. 1.
It seems unlikely that Hoess interrogators took 'Wolzek' from a Soviet report, as the name Sobibor was known to them as well.
Ilya Ehrenburg wrote an article on Sobibor titled "The Button Factory" which later appeared in The Black Book. I don't know exactly when he wrote it, but it did appear in the NY newspaper PM on September 11, 1944; his spelling of Sobibor was translated as "Sobibur" in both publications. Another Ehrenburg article in PM that referred to Sobibor was published August 13, 1944; in which it was spelt "Sabibur," and William H. Lawrence (PM, Aug 8, 1994) quoted Ehrenburg as having mentioned "Sabibur" in a Prvada article the previous day.
On top of that, a Vasily Grossman article titled "Yak Boga!" appear in the Soviet War News Weekly (London), August 3, 1944, which states:
I was told there were more than thirty such death factories in Eastern Poland and Silesia. There was one six miles from Lublin, another near Sabibur station in the same area, another near Wladowa.
- Prof. Noah Charney
From this map and others it is clear that the road approach to the camp was via Wolczyn,since the present more direct road runs over what was then the railway. If Hoess had actually visited the camp without knowing a lot about it he may well have associated it with the nearest village rather than with Sobibor, which he would have passed through before Wolczyny, which appears to be the larger settlement. Although the present road appears to bypass Wolczyny, I find it rather unlikely that the concept of the bypass existed in 1940's rural Poland and we can see traces in the satellite picture of where the road might have run.
This seems more likely to me than the name having been supplied by an interrogator, given all the evidence you have posted that the camp was always referred to by the Allies and by the Soviets and Poles as Sobibor.
Odd that the station is called Sobibor given its location with no direct connection to the village, which is not big enough to justify a station anyway. maybe it was built specifically for the camp.
Of course, if he visited the three camps we don't know for what purpose, and I no more than you think it was to learn how to mass murder with gas.
Kingfisher wrote:Sorry, BR. I hadn't seen your post about LGR with the map as it was at a page change.
I've done the same before in the past.
I visited Sobibor in late 2012; stayed in Wlodawa for two nights, and drove to and from the camp on three occasions. I did rely on a Sat Nav (GPS) to get me there, but by the third drive down I was certainly familiar with the route.
What you described as the "present more direct road runs over what was then the railway," isn't a road that was recognised by my Sat Nav. And having seen. I wouldn't attempt to drive down it unless I was in a Landrover or similar.
That railway is still working btw, that's how they haul the lumber out of there. The small town that now exists around the "death camp" is connected to the logging business that operates there. Just yards away from the camp museum I saw a truly enormous amount of lumber that was to be shipped out by train.
The Sat Nav took me into the "death camp" via the road which is accessed next to Wolczyn, and although it's recognised as a "road," it almost shook my little hire car to bits. I don't think I exceed 15 mph driving down it for fear of doing some real damage.
The only decent road into the "death camp" is from the west of the forest...
...which makes a lot of sense really, as who travels in from the east, apart from maybe the few villagers of Wolczyn and a few atrocity tourists travelling from Wlodawa whilst relying on a GPS? Effectively, the east side of the forest is hemmed in by the river Bug, and there's not been a bridge crossing the river in that region for a long time. The nearest one was in the centre of Wlodawa, but that was destroyed by the Soviets in 1949 apparently.
I don't know much about the history of Sobibor, but an advert for an auction for the logging right to the 2,558 hectares of forest in Sobibor is mentioned in this 1926 Polish trade journal. I can't laid my hands on it right now (a website is down) but only yesterday I was reading an article about a train crash being narrowly avoided between Wlodawa and Sobibor in an Polish language American newspaper from 1911, if I remember correctly.
As for Hoess, the only AR camp he supposedly visited was Treblinka. Thomas Kues wrote a truly superb article on Hoess' visit to Treblinka. Towards the end he writes:
Possible sources to Höss’ description of Treblinka
As I have demonstrated above, there exists ample evidence for Höss never having visited the alleged extermination camp Treblinka. If this is the case, from where then did his “knowledge" of the camp derive?
By March 1946, there already existed a number of reports on Treblinka in English and German which could have been used by Höss’ British, and later American, captors to stimulate his memory so to say.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any known possible sources from which Hoess' British interrogators could have lifted the named Wolzek, which we suspect which means 'Wolczyn.'
- Prof. Noah Charney
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