Liquidation of Sobibor
Treblinka - Sobibor Waybill
Official examination on 4 July 1962 at the Criminal Detention Investigation Institute in Cologne of Arthur Matthes born 11 January 1902 in Wermsdorf, district Leipzig, previously SS NCO in Treblinka, by profession senior nurse at Health and Care Institute in Bayreuth.
Following my duties at Treblinka I arrived at the Jewish Extermination Camp at Sobibor in the autumn of 1943.At this point in time Treblinka had terminated its activities and a number of the Treblinka staff were being transferred to Sobibor. I myself was in Sobibor only a short time, namely from the autumn of 1943 until approximately Christmas of that year. In Sobibor I was made responsible for the so-
Some days after my arrival in Sobibor some 100 worker-
Official examinations on 24 January and 7 November 1962 in Alotting, Bavaria of the accused Franz Suchomel – formerly SS –NCO in Treblinka, born 3 December 1903 in Krummau Czechoslovakia. At present master tailor in Alotting.
In October 1943, a few days after the uprising in Sobibor I was called to the office in Treblinka. There I was informed by SS Officer Kurt Franz, the Camp Commandant that I was being transferred to the extermination camp at Sobibor, since a number of personnel there had fallen in the uprising. The transfer of personnel from Treblinka to Sobibor took place in three separate groups. I was included in the first of these. Two further details arrived later. At this time I was delighted to be leaving Treblinka. My healthy common sense told me that these worker-
With me to Sobibor came Eduard Potzinger and Hermann Sydow and two other people whose names I no longer recall.We were received in Sobibor by the Camp Commandant Franz Reichleitner and informed of our new duties. He said that the camp was being dismantled and that we had to pack the remainders of the Jewish clothes. In this connection I remember that my immediate task was to remove the clothing of the five comrades who had lost their lives. In addition I had to sort out the personal belongings of the dead and prepare these for despatch to their families.I know for certain that I dealt with the belongings of comrades Rudi Beckmann and Josef Wolf. I do not remember the names of the three other fallen comrades. After my arrival in Sobibor I could find no traces of the uprising, only near the fencing by the rail track was there evidence of damage. Members of the camp staff also showed me the spots where Wolf, Stengelin and Graetschus had been killed. I was also glad that when I arrived in Sobibor there were no Jews. Now I must amend this statement in that there were a few Jews in the camp, perhaps about twenty, who had voluntarily returned after the uprising, or had been in hiding. In this connection I remember clearly that two Jews, a married couple from Holland were found in Camp l hidden under the floor.
By way of explanation I have to say that the barracks in Sobibor were constructed on top of meter high piles to avoid the danger of flooding. The Dutch couple had loosened the floorboards and during the day hid in the space below, they were discovered because at night the barrack was used for the preparation of food. These two Jews like all the other Sobibor Jews were killed with the Treblinka Jews to which matter I will revert in detail. In the first half of November the remaining Treblinka Jews arrived in Sobibor. I remember exactly one morning the Treblinka Jews were lined on the barrack square of Camp l. The Jewish chief Kapo, Karl Blau, who came from Vienna stepped forward and reported to Gustav Wagner who was in charge. Then the Jews were split into groups, probably by Gustav Wagner or Karl Frenzel. Two shoemakers and six or eight tailors were allocated to me. The remaining Jews and Jewesses were put to work on the usual camp duties and on the camp dismantling operations which were taking place enormously fast.
The Jews had to work very hard while receiving little sustenance – I know about this because they came to me to complain. At this time it was an almost daily event that the Jews employed by me came to me and told me, “Boss last night another one hanged himself in the sleeping barrack. When I asked why they had done this it was explained to me that they had to work hard, received little to eat and from time to time were also beaten. There existed between me and the Treblinka Jews a certain trust – the Jews also suspected that their final days in Sobibor were at hand. These suspicions were in fact justified as one day in the second half of November Gustav Wagner announced one morning at 6am, that he had been instructed to report to Lublin that same evening that the liquidation of the last of the Jews had been carried out. It was noticeable that this angered him – he let it be known that the Jews would have to be worked extra hard on this day to tire them out and make them unable to offer resistance. Consequently the Jews on one of the details engaged on work outside the camp were driven especially hard on that day. The unrest among the Jews was palpable. This was particularly the case with the Jews who were working for me in the tailors shop. The chief – Kapo Karl Blau also came to me and asked, “Boss has the time now come we must die?”
I replied “probably”
Karl Blau then said to me, “I shall now go to the barrack with my wife to take poison.” He then asked me to bury him and his wife decently. I was deeply shaken and promised to fulfil his last wish. This conversation with Blau took place in the Jewish cookhouse where he and his wife were working.
A short time before the Jews working for me had been collected by Ukrainian volunteers. On this day the liquidation of the Jews took place in sections. In the course of the morning the worker-
Frankfurt – am – Main 23 May 1962. Hearing of witness and accused Robert Juhrs born 17 October 1911 in Frankfurt – am – Main, previously SS-
When I arrived in Sobibor I was lodged in a one-
Accused of participating in the mass murder of approximately 30 Jews.
Acquitted at both Sobibor and Belzec trials
In the Treblinka trial in 1965 he was sentenced to life imprisonment
At the first Treblinka trial in 1965 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment, and was released in 1969.
Adele Blau was born on the 18 February 1888 in Vienna. She was deported from Vienna to Kielce with her husband Karl.
From Kielce the Blau’s were both deported to Treblinka, she committed suicide in Sobibor death camp in November 1943.
Karl Blau was born on 15 February 1892 in Vienna. He was deported to Kielce on 19 February 1941 with his wife Adele. Blau and his wife were recognised by Commandant Stangl and selected to live, the only husband and wife partnership in Treblinka.
Blau was feared and hated because of his collaboration with the SS, after serving in the Lower Camp. They were transferred to the Upper Camp. Karl Blau was described as corpulent and bandy-
Interrogation Reports by Officers of Abteilung 15 of the Landeskriminalpolizei Nordheim-
Mike Tregenza’s original research paper
Translation by H. Stadler
Photograph – Yad Vashem, Israel
© Holocaust Historical Society 2014