Escaping The Camps
Ibi Ginsburg's Story
“We were constantly hungry, humiliated, we worked, but we knew that the end was coming… We just hung on to life”.
Simon Gronowski's Story
On February 1943 Simon (11 years old at the time) along with his mother and sister were taken by two nazi soldiers.
A quote from Simon, “My parents had made a mistake - only one, but a serious one, which was… to have been born Jewish - a crime that, at the time, could only be punished by death”.
They were transferred to Kazerne Dossin, a detention camp.
Simon talked about how he had to always be aware of his surroundings, and that he had to try not to stick out.
They were told that they were to be transported by train one day.
The conditions were “atrocious” states Simon.
While on the train, there was a conflict present.
A resistance group stopped the train and helped free many of the jews.
Simon jumped off of the train as it slowed down.
He heard guns firing in his direction and immediately started to run.
He eventually got a ride back to Brussels and was reunited with his father.
His mother was sent to a gas chamber and his sister later died in the camp.
- He still lives today and has visited where he jumped off of the train
How Jews Escaped
Around 764 jews escaped the camps by jumping off of a train.
If caught in the act, they would be executed.
Jewish prisoners started rebellions in three of six extermination camps.
These camps were Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In Sobibor many tried to escape, some made it and others didn’t.
A man by the name of Leon Feldhendler started to plan a big escape along with the help of other prisoners.
Their goal was to kill the SS soldiers, steal their weapons, and escape the camps.
The plan took place on October 14, 1943.
The prisoners killed 11 SS soldiers and other guards.
About 300 prisoners escaped the horrifying camp.
However, many were captured and were executed.
Some prisoners who did not take part in the plan were also killed.
50 out of 300 prisoners survived the war from Sobibor.
Most of the prisoners who tried to escape Treblinka failed.
The SS soldiers stopped and uprising in the camp and killed nearly all of the 750 Jews trying to escape.
In Auschwitz-Birkenau many Jews transported in were sentenced to die.
One woman took a SS officer’s pistol and shot two of them, on of them later died.
Other women joined her and attacked the officers.
After the riot settled, all the women were killed.
After trying to escape the gas chambers, men, women, and children were tracked down and killed.
One escape plan mostly leading to death occurred on June 10, 1942.
In an attempt to escape twenty prisoners were shot, and 300 died in the gas chamber.
Overall escaping took courage.
Some survived, many didn’t live to see another day.
What Escaping Was Like
Around 1.6 to 2 million jews and prisoners of war were killed.
Almost all prisoners welcomed to Sobibor were killed.
600 were left alive to work in the camp.
As the war became closer to ending, the camp was shutting down.
Many prisoners were able to escape the camps and live.
Most prisoners were executed.
It wasn’t easy to escape, it wasn’t any easier to attempt escaping.
Some camps were very secure.
Barbed wire, and guard towers.
Hundreds of guard with weaponry.
- We will never be able to imagine what it was like, but we can learn as much as we can
One day livia and a bunch of other prisoners were transported out of the camp to a train station.
The suspense of where they were to be take was filling all of the prisoners.
They were loaded onto the over-packed trains and headed on their mysterious journey.
Days passed with no food or anything to drink.
Many people become sick, weak, and tired.
Out of nowhere the train door was wrenched open and prisoners started running freely for their lives.
Livia and her mother pause in shock of what’s going on.
They start wandering around the other boxcars in hope of finding Livia’s brother.
They find Bubi who is in very bad condition.
They are finally together as a family.
They are finally freed.