On April 28, 1943, our little town of Izbica, surrounded an older Jewish inhabitance, was taken to the marketplace, loaded to trucks and taken away. From the beginning, we didn’t know that the trucks are going to Sobibor. What still, we hoped maybe was to go to concentration camps. A lot of people died of hunger, of beatings, there were special death factories, extermination camps, which existed under a codename Operation Reinhard. In a death camp, you had no choice—you were there to die. When a transport arrived, a thousand, two thousand people, the train was pushed into the camp. Half an hour later, it goes out empty and the people were already in the gas chambers without any selections.

I arrived with my family—my brother, my mother, my father, on the 28th of April. At that time, they needed some people—Sobibor was expanding—and they took out 40 people from my transport. And they took out me too. The rest—my family, my mother—two hundred Jews were taken immediately to the gas chamber and killed. I was working there until we revolted and escaped the prisoners. A lot of people say it can’t be, it’s impossible to kill so many people, six million, in such a short time because the death camps existed up to 18 months.

So I will explain how it was possible, how very efficient the death machine did work and I will explain this under the example of transport of the Dutch people from Holland. Usually our transport of about 2,300 Jews from Holland arrived in the morning and stopped in a little train station called Sobibor. When a transport arrived, this gate was opened and the train was pushed inside. People were told to step down and later, they were told to leave their heavy luggage—it would be returned to them later—and go farther down. This was a hallway between barbed wires. They went straight this way to a big barrack. This was a barrack for horses, for military horses, converted into sleeping quarters. Here, some people, especially women, would have still their handbags, men still had their wallets. They were told to leave everything in this barrack. The people didn’t know what will happen to them and here I’ve seen in their eyes some surprise. Women generally have in their handbags valuable stuff and now they told them to leave it. I’ve seen in the eyes some kind of worry but nevertheless, they left the handbags and went straight out from this barrack to this yard. They went to the yard and while they were in the yard, a Nazi, in a white uniform pretending to be a doctor, stood on this balcony and gave a short talk. He nicely, quietly apologized for the three day trip from Holland, what it is now, you are in a nice place. Sobibor, otherwise, looked like a nice village. He said, “here you will spend the rest of your time till the end of the ar. But now, because of sanitary reasons, you must have a shower. And after your shower, you will go to your quarters.” Many people not knowing what’s happened, believing what the Nazi said, Klare Bravo, undressed themselves and while they were undressing themselves, here the handbags were taken out to these two barracks where we prisoners were sorting. We’d take out a handbag, turn it over, everything went down on the tables, they had little tables, and we sorted lipstick to lipstick, money to money, papers, documents, we threw out in a big blanket which later was taken. 

After the polite speech of the Nazi pretending to be a doctor, they undressed themselves nicely, and being nude, they went along this hallway which the Germans called Himmelstrsse, which meant the Road to Heaven. The women went here to this barrack, and here their hair was shorn. When it was a transport from Holland or Czechoslovakia, outside of Poland, because the Polish Jews did know at that time that Sobibor was a Death Camp. But the Dutch people, the Czechoslovakian, the German, the other people, did not know.