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Most prisoners were housed in a network of sub-camps set up in pre-existing structures such as converted school buildings, factories, and farms.The Krychów camp was the main branch of the new complex.This would make it the fourth worst extermination camp, after Bełżec, Treblinka, and Auschwitz.During the revolt of 14 October 1943, about 600 prisoners tried to escape; about half succeeded in crossing the fence, of whom around 50 evaded capture.Shortly after the revolt, the Germans closed the camp, bulldozed the earth, and planted it over with pine trees to conceal its location.Today, the site is occupied by the Sobibór Museum, which displays a pyramid of ashes and crushed bones of the victims, collected from the cremation pits.Upon completion of construction, the Jews involved were all killed.Christian Wirth, the commander of Bełżec and Inspector of Operation Reinhard, arrived in Sobibór to witness one of the gassings, with about 30–40 Jewish women from the Krychów camp brought in for this purpose.
Sobibór extermination camp memorial, pyramid of sand mixed with human ashes Location of Sobibór (right of centre) on the map of German extermination camps marked with black and white skulls.It was a minimum of 200 horsepower, V-shaped, 8 cylinder, water-cooled motor, identical to the one at Bełżec.Fuchs installed the engine on a cement base at Sobibór in the presence of Floss, Bauer, Stangl, and Barbl, and connected the engine exhaust manifold to pipes leading to the gas chamber. I repaired the ignition and the valve and finally got the engine to start.Sobibór was located 145 kilometres (90 mi) from Bełżec, less than a three-hour drive away.Camp construction was supervised by SS-Hauptsturmführer Richard Thomalla, a civil engineer by profession who built the camp in Bełżec and then applied the lessons learned there to the design of Sobibor.
According to Stangl, Odilo Globocnik initially stated that Sobibór was merely a supply camp for the army, and that the true nature of the camp became known to Stangl only when Hermann Michel took him to see the gas chamber hidden in the woods: "The moment I saw it – I realised what Michel had had in mind – it looked exactly the same as the gas chamber in Schloss Hartheim." Feeling overwhelmed by a new job, Stangl first studied the Bełżec camp operations and management, where the extermination operations had already started. SS-Scharführer Erich Fuchs, who spent time installing the killing apparatus at the three Reinhard death camps of Sobibór, Treblinka, and Bełżec, explained how the gassing of victims at Sobibór was developed.