Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Last Treblinka revolt survivor dies in Israel, aged 93

    The last survivor of the Treblinka revolt carried out by prisoners of the Nazi death camp has died in Israel aged 93.

    Samuel Willenberg was one of 67 captives who in 1943 managed to successfully escape the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland shortly before it was destroyed. Around 870,000 Jews were killed in Treblinka - only Auschwitz had a higher death toll.

    He is survived by his wife Ada, a daughter and three grandchildren.

    Mr Willenberg, born in Poland and brought to the camp in 1942 at the age of 19, was given the task of sorting the dead’s belongings. Upon finding his two sisters’ clothes among the items, he realised they had been killed.

    He was one of 200 prisoners who, 10 months after his arrival, opened fire on Nazi guards and set sections of the camp on fire, storming the fences while being shot at.

    He previously told Israel Hayom: "We set hell on fire. There was a lot of confusion. Everything was on fire, and the bullets whizzed in our ears.

    “Every second someone else fell, I jumped over bodies. In the meantime, everyone had run towards the fence, with many falling after being gunned down.”

    The 67 who made it out alive fled to the nearby woods. He said: "I had to jump over the bodies and got shot. To this day I have a bullet in my leg."

    Despite his injury, he was able to travel to Warsaw, where he later joined in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 to liberate the city from Nazi Germany.

    When the war was over Mr Willenberg joined the Polish army, rising to the rank of lieutenant. For his service during and after the Warsaw Uprising, he was honoured with the highest Polish military award, the Virtuti Militari medal.

    He also helped a Polish charity to find Jewish children who had been rescued from the Holocaust by gentiles.

    After moving to Israel in 1950, he became chief surveyor in the Ministry of Housing and Construction, before turning his attention to art. His sculptures and drawings were displayed in Warsaw’s National Gallery of Art in 2003 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

    Speaking to Yad Vashem about his artistic creations, Mr Willenberg said: “When you see my sculptures - you see Treblinka.

    He added: “But when I finished, I never felt relief. There is no relief. It never gets easier to bear. I only felt a kind of satisfaction.”

    Mr Willenberg returned to the site of the Treblinka camp many times, leading groups of schoolchildren on educational tours.

    He will be buried on Monday, at a cemetery near Netanya in northern Israel.

    Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock Mr Willenberg’s story was one of "incredible courage," adding that the Jewish community had "lost a link to this important part of history, making our mission more pressing to ensure that the legacy of survivors like Samuel continues for many generations to come.”

World

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris
Uk News

UJS presidential candidate abused for pro-BDS s...

Daniel Sugarman

UJS presidential candidate abused for pro-BDS s...
World

Australian abuse report

Henry Benjamin

Australian abuse report
World

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss

Daniel Sugarman

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss
Uk News

Taking the lead, the legal experts who are show...

Daniel Sugarman

Taking the lead, the legal experts who are show...
World

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...

JC Reporter

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...
World

It's Chanucah Song time!

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Chanucah Song time!
World

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...

Sonia Zhuravlyova

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...
World

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...

Toby Axelrod

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...