Miami, FL (January 26, 2020) – Filmmaker Gary Hochman has led a remarkable effort to uncover the Nazis’ attempt to erase the painful history of Sobibor, by documenting the work of international archaeology team Yoram Haimi (Israel), Wojciech Mazurek (Poland), and Ivar Schute (Netherlands). Over the last twelve years, this team unearthed proof of the Nazi cover-up, finding remains of barracks, mass graves, eight gas chambers and thousands of artifacts – bullets, teeth, keys, glasses, hair pins, wedding rings, Jewish stars, prayer pendants, and metal name tags of Sobibor victims, most of whom were children. Targum Shlishi is participating in funding the documentary, Deadly Deception at Sobibor, that documents this process.
Deadly Deception at Sobibor takes viewers behind the scenes of the investigation as it takes place. Using live-action scenes, interviews and 3-D animation, the documentary weaves history and science together to follow excavations by the international archeology team to unearth the evidence of the Nazi cover-up.
Sobibor – Background
Sobibor was an extermination camp located in Eastern Poland, the fourth deadliest camp after Belzec, Treblinka, and Auschwitz, killing roughly 250,000 Jews. On October 14, 1943, Sobibor prisoners launched a revolt and mass-escape, killing 11 guards, and resulting in the escape of more than 300 Jews. Only 52 survived, yet the revolt is a testament to one of several instances of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.
Following the Sobibor revolt, the Nazis demolished the camp and concealed its evidence. Today, a forest covers their crimes. Apart from a few movies and a museum, less is known of Sobibor by the public in the conversation of Holocaust research. “Projects like these are crucial to the continuity and survival of Holocaust history” says Gary Hochman, “in times like these, there’s a growing need to present new evidence to educate the public so that history is remembered…and not repeated.”
Gary Hochman’s film, narrated by acclaimed actress Tovah Feldshuh, focuses on the stories behind the artifacts found on site. These stories serve as a reminder and testament to the legacy of the Sobibor victims’ lives and experiences. One artifact, a triangular silver pendant inscribed in Hebrew with “Mazel Tov” – July 3, 1929, Frankfurt – launched a search for the owner’s identity and brought together 35 surviving relatives to commemorate the cousin they never knew existed. Most had never met before. Some didn’t even know their Jewish ancestry. All would never forget the experience.
Sobibor Documentation Project 2009
In 2009, Targum Shlishi provided initial funding for the Sobibor Documentation Project with a geophysical site survey and preliminary excavation at the death camp. This project allowed the international archaeological team to push forward with its remarkable discoveries, and for Hochman to pursue his video documentation, providing revolutionary ways to conduct Holocaust research by recording archeological findings as they were made to confirm historical records and eyewitness survivor testimony. In the future, footage from the archeological excavations will be made available for scholarly use, and a website is now being planned to supplement the content of the documentary, Deadly Deception at Sobibor.
To view a trailer of the film and/or make a donation click here.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter..