Archaeologists Discover Nazi Extermination Camp Gas Chambers in Poland

A rusty road sign outside the perimeter of a Nazi death camp in Sobibor, Poland, on Sept. 18, 2014. (Reuters/Kacper Pempel)

From “Archaeologists unearth hidden death chambers used to kill a quarter-million Jews at notorious camp”

By Terrence McCoy in The Washington Post

Few sites across war-torn Poland harbor more secrets of atrocity and horror than the Nazi concentration camp of Sobibor. Different from Auschwitz, which almost immediately yielded the full scope of the crimes committed there, the history of Sobibor in eastern Poland was initially hidden and opaque.

Unlike Auschwitz, the fate of Sobibor wasn’t liberation. It was obliteration. The Nazis who had run the camp tried to extinguish every remnant of it in 1943, painting over its grounds with a farm, trees and asphalt. Besides a railroad track and the commander’s house, Haaretz noted, nothing remained of the camp. Save for the testimonies of the few survivors, who could only provide scant recollections of small areas of the camp, Sobibor had been lost to history.

But now, more than 70 years later, relics of genocide have surfaced, bringing more clarity to the murder of an estimated 250,000 Jews there than ever before. Buried beneath an asphalt road were a series of well-preserved gas chamber walls that archaeologists say will help elucidate the secrets of Sobibor. Beneath the road were brick rows, stacked four deep — the exoskeleton of four gas chambers.

“The discovery of the gas chambers at Sobibor is a very important finding in Holocaust research,” historian David Silberklang, editor of Yad Vashem Studies, said in a statement. “It is important to understand that there were no survivors from among the Jews who worked in the area of the gas chambers. Therefore, these findings are all that is left of those murdered there, and they open a window onto the day-to-day suffering of these people.”

Read more at The Washington Post

The World Is Full of Holocaust Deniers

A new survey suggests that many Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners, young people, Muslims, and Hindus believe that facts about the genocide have been distorted.

Child survivors photographed at Auschwitz in 1945. (Wikimedia)

Only 54 percent of the world’s population has heard of the Holocaust.

54 percent.

This is the most staggering statistic in a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of more than 53,000 people in over 100 countries, conducted by First International Resources. But that figure speaks to only those who have heard of it: Only a third of the world’s population believe the genocide has been accurately described in historical accounts. Some said they thought the number of people who died has been exaggerated; others said they believe it’s a myth. Thirty percent of respondents said it’s probably true that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”

Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, two-thirds of the world’s population don’t know the Holocaust happened—or they deny it.

Read more at The Atlantic