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Long shadow of Sobibor

Time period: 1930-2009


Realisation project:

Selma Leydesdorff (interviews), University of Amsterdam

Mirjam Huffener (project manager), Stichting Sobibor


Timeframe: 1930-2009
Location: Netherlands, Poland, Sobibor





The Long Shadow of Sobibor collection contains 31 interviews with both relatives of people murdered in Sobibor and with Dutch, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian survivors of the Sobibor uprising (October 14, 1943).


The interviews are life histories in which the interviewees tell about the world they left behind with the death of relatives in Sobibor, and how they lived their lives afterwards without their loved ones. Next of kin tell what the murder of their loved one has meant. Often one or both parents are involved. The survivors, of the revolt that took place in Sobibor on October 14, 1943, also go into their lives before and after the extermination camp in their stories.

Jewish children in camp Vught

Huffener, M.C.C.
Time period: 1938-1946
Number of interviews: 8
Accessibility: restricted public



Huffener, kand. M.C.C. (2003): Thematische collectie: Kindertransporten ‘Joodse kinderen in kamp Vught’ – Interviews (2003) en documentaires (2007). 

One of the most tragic events in the history of World War II in the Netherlands. On 6 and 7 June 1943, two trains with Jewish children left camp Vught. All children under 16 had to leave, their mothers were allowed to go with them. They were told they would be going to a special children’s camp nearby. But the trains went to the Westerbork transit camp. And then to Sobibor in Poland. The almost 1,300 Jewish children were killed here almost immediately upon arrival.

Sobibor interviews 1983-1984

NIOD Jules Schelvis
Time period: 1943
Number of interviews: 15
Period of interviews: 1983-1984

The collection is housed at DANS:
Jules Schelvis; NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (): Thematic collection: Sobibor Interviews 1983-1984. DANS.


Approximately 170,000 Jews from all over Europe were killed in the Sobibor extermination camp (eastern Poland). More than 33,000 of them came from the Netherlands. Less than fifty prisoners survived the war. Most of them escaped during the uprising that broke out on October 14, 1943.


Interviews have been conducted with thirteen Sobibor survivors. Sometimes emotional, sometimes detached they tell about their lives disrupted by the war, the degrading conditions in the camp, their escape and their lives after the war. The leader of the uprising tells in detail about the preparation and execution of the mass escape. Also featured are interviews with two Polish residents of the camp and a survivor of the uprising in the crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau.


The interviews with Sobibor survivors were filmed in 1983 and 1984. During this period, the trial of the camp executioner Karl Frenzel took place in Hagen, West Germany. As a reporter for the newspaper Het Vrije Volk Jules Schelvis, himself a Sobibor survivor, attended the trial. He was accompanied by Dunya Breur (†2009), an expert on Slavic languages, who followed the trial for a film company. Survivors came from America, Israel, Brazil, and Australia to testify at the trial. With video equipment they bought themselves, Schelvis and Breur made film recordings of these survivors. Schelvis operated the camera and Breur did the interviews. Some interviews were recorded later at Schelvis’ home in Tricht. For the interviews with Alexander Petsjerski and Arkady Wajspapir Schelvis and Breur traveled to Rostov-on-Don in Russia. Together with Dunya Breur Jules Schelvis had additional conversations with two Polish neighbors and a survivor of the uprising in the crematorium of Auschwitz-Birkenau.