Video: How Lieutenant Alexander Pechersky orchestrated the only successful mass escape of prisoners from a Nazi death camp
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
The Second World War remains one of the most acute topics in modern Russian history to this day. Many historians note that the romanticization of the events of that war was reflected not only in literary and artistic works dedicated to that era, but also in the interpretation of historical events. During concerts and parades, the memory of specific people who performed a feat and saved lives, hundreds of lives is lost. An example of this is Alexander Aronovich Pechersky, who organized a successful escape from the fascist death camp and remained a traitor to the authorities.
SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor - Sobibor extermination camp. Poland, near the village of Sobibur, 1942. Sobibor is one of the death camps that was organized to contain and exterminate Jews. During the existence of the camp from May 1942 to October 1943, about 250 thousand prisoners were killed here. Everything happened as to many other fascist death camps: most of the Jews who arrived were exterminated immediately in the gas chambers, the rest were sent to work inside the camp. But it was Sobibor who gave people hope - the only successful mass escape of prisoners in history was organized here.
The organizers of the escape of their Sobibor were the Jewish underground, but a group of Soviet soldiercaptured. The soldiers were Jews, and therefore were sent to this death camp. Among them was a Soviet officer, junior lieutenant Alexander Aronovich Pechersky.
It all started in July 1943. A group of Jewish underground workers, led by Leon Feldhendler, upon learning that a group of Soviet soldiers was being held in the camp, decided to contact them and organize an uprising. The captured soldiers did not immediately agree to the uprising, since Pechersky feared that the underground might turn out to be a German provocation. Nevertheless, by the end of July, all Red Army prisoners of war agreed to support the uprising.
It was just impossible to run. The uprising had to be well organized. Pechersky developed a plan, according to which it was necessary to decapitate the camp garrison and seize the armory. It took almost a week to prepare everything. As a result, on October 14, 1943, the underground started a riot. The camp leadership was “invited” to the work unit, ostensibly for the purpose of inspecting the work done by the prisoners. As a result, the underground members managed to eliminate 12 SS officers. The camp was actually beheaded, but the next in line was the weapons room. Having removed some of the sentries, the underground workers seemed to be close to the goal, but the camp guards managed to raise the alarm. The capture of the "weapon" failed, and the prisoners decided to flee. More than 420 people fled through the fence before the Wehrmacht soldiers opened fire. The situation was complicated by the fact that they had to escape through a minefield. In addition, the camp guards deployed their machine guns and began to fire. But the gained time and albeit a clear plan that was not fully implemented helped the fugitives. The Red Army managed to transfer about 300 fugitives through the minefield, while a quarter died from mines and machine-gun bursts. Of the 550 prisoners in the camp, about 130 did not take part in the escape, but they were shot.
Almost immediately, Wehrmacht soldiers and the Polish "blue police" began search activities. Unfortunately, without the support of the local population, the fugitives were doomed. In the first days, about 170 fugitives were found, declassified by the locals and immediately shot. Within a month - 90 more. Some were missing. Only 53 fugitives from Sobibor managed to survive until the end of the war.
The camp itself was wiped out by the fascists themselves. In its place, the Wehrmacht troops plowed the land and planted a potato field. Probably to erase the memory of the only successful escape.
As for the further fate of one of the leaders of the Pechersky rebellion, Alexander, already on October 22, 1943, together with a group of freed prisoners and the escaped Red Army soldiers, he was able to enter the sector of the territories occupied by the Nazis, which was under the influence of the partisans. On the same day, Alexander Pechersky joins the local partisan detachment, in which he continues to fight until the liberation of Belarus by Soviet troops. In the detachment, Pechersky became a demolitionist.
However, in 1944, after the liberation of Belarus, he was accused of treason, and he was sent to the assault rifle battalion (penal battalion). There Alexander fought until Victory, rose to the rank of captain, was wounded in the leg and received a disability. In the hospital, Pechersky met his future wife, who bore him a daughter. While serving in the penal battalion, Pechersky visited Moscow, where he became a witness in the case of accusing the fascists of a number of atrocities. Major Andreev, the battalion commander in which Pechersky served, was able to achieve this for the "traitor" of the Motherland, after he learned about the events in Sobibor and for whom it meant nothing propaganda.
The post-war life of Pechersky was not easy. Until 1947 he worked in the theater, but after that, for almost 5 years he lost his job because of his "betrayal". In the 50s he was able to get a job at the plant as a worker. Pechersky lived out his life in Rostov-on-Don. After the collapse of the USSR, the officer did not receive any awards for organizing the mutiny in Sobibor, in addition to the stigma of "traitor".
Alexander Aronovich died on January 19, 1990. Only in 2007, the residents of Rostov were able to achieve the appearance of a memorial plaque on the house where the veteran lived. In Tel Aviv, a monument was erected in honor of the feat of Pechersky and all participants in the liberation of Sobibor. Even under the USSR, a number of writers and the officer himself wrote several books about the events of Sobibor. All of them were banned by the USSR censorship. For the first time, the book by Alexander Pechersky "Uprising in the Sobiborovsky Camp" in Russia appeared in 2012 at the 25th Moscow International Book Fair. The book was published with the support of the Transfiguration Foundation by the Gesharim - Bridges of Culture publishing house.
The not "glossy", not romanticized feat of the participants in the uprising in Sobibor did not acquire either popular recognition or fame. The history of Pechersky is not unique in its case - a story in which there is no military romance.
This, of course, a heroic page of history for a long time was undeservedly consigned to complete oblivion. Near Peshawar, on April 26, 1985, a handful of captured Soviet soldiers rioted in the secret Afghan prison of Badaber. The daredevils have seized a warehouse with weapons. They managed to hold the defense of the fortress for more than a day. The rebels rejected all offers of surrender by the insurgents without hesitation. They preferred certain death in an unequal battle to the hell of Afghan captivity. The names of the heroes became known only after many years. AND
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