Arkady Waispapir, one of the last known survivors of Sobibor and a commander of the uprising, has died at age 96.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
Arkady Waispapir, one of the last known survivors of the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp, has died in Ukraine. He was 96.
The Berlin-based Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe said Monday that Waispapir died January 11 in Kiev.
Born in southern Ukraine in 1921, Waispapir was captured by the Germans while serving in the Soviet Army. He was sent to the Sobibor camp in Poland in 1943 because he was Jewish.
At Sobibor, Waispapir was ordered to a work detail, one of the few inmates spared immediate death in the camp’s gas chambers.
Prisoners organized an uprising against the guards in October 1943, and succeeded in killing nearly a dozen.
Waispapir was one of the eight main organizers who used their training as soldiers to help devise the plan for the uprising. In the end, about half of the camp’s 600 prisoners managed to escape, although about 100 were caught almost immediately. Of the 200 who evaded capture for longer, only 47, including Waispapir, survived World War II.
Following the uprising, the Nazi guards shot the remaining prisoners and razed the camp. Archaeologists recently uncovered the site’s foundations, among many other discoveries about the camp.
An estimated 250,000 Jews were murdered between 1942 and 1943 in Sobibor, almost all of them Jews.
Waispapier’s death leaves four living survivors of Sobibor, according to Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz memorial and museum.
Waispapier lost his entire family during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, according to the German Holocaust memorial. He married after the war and had two sons, the memorial said, without providing further details.
Waispapir lived and worked in eastern Ukraine until retiring in 1994 and moving to Kiev.