Struggling to remember all of the details, Philip Bialowitz recounts the agony of Sobibor, his struggle to survive and the prisoner revolt to his son, Joseph. Sobibor was not a transit camp, nor a work camp. Its one and only purpose was mass murder, but Philip never gave up hope or allowed himself to degrade to a muselman, someone barely alive. His father honored life and human dignity by never abandoning hope and by engaging in many forms of resistance while in the camp. Joseph notes that this instinct for survival was not rooted in fear, but by the memory of a loving family, deep friendships, a supportive religion and a hope for a better life. On October 14, 1943, the almost 650 prisoners still alive at Sobibibor dared to plan a revolt. They killed SS officers, fled through minefields and machine-gun fire into the surrounding forests, farms, and towns; but only 42 of them, including the author, are known to have survived until the end of the war. This is the story of where, how, and why it happened. Survival often depended on assistance from courageous Gentile people outside of the Jewish community. His father and uncle, Symcha, were given shelter after they escaped from Sobibor, by a courageous Polish Catholic couple who were farmers, Maria and Michal Mazurek. Notes.
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.