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Church Established at Site of the Sobibor Death Camp

A Roman Catholic church has been built on the site of a former Nazi torture chamber at the Sobibor death camp, where 200,000 Jews were killed by gassing, the World Jewish Congress reported here.

According to the WJC, European Jewish communities are outraged at this development, coming in the wake of the continuing controversy over the erection of a Carmelite convent in a building which stored gas canisters in the Auschwitz death camps.

Virtually all of the victims at Sobibor were Jewish. From April 1942 to October 1943 some 200,000 Jews from Poland, The Netherlands, France, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union were transported to the camp outside of Lublin where they were killed in the gas chambers and cremated.

The church was erected on the site of a tiny chapel which the Nazis had converted to a torture chamber. The church contains no reference to being on the site of a camp created to murder Jews, and there is no sign or plaque memorializing the victims, the WJC reported.

European Jewish leaders stressed that neither the local Capucine Order nor other Catholic officials had consulted or given prior notice of the plans to establish a church at Sobibor.

On October 14, 1943 Sobibor was the scene of one of the most courageous and daring prisoner rebellions of the war. Some 300 Jewish inmates killed the SS contingent and their Ukrainian aides. After the rebellion the Nazis razed the camp.

Meanwhile, the American CBS television network has announced it is filming a multimillion-dollar movie based on the escape, with an international cast. Surviving members of the rebellion will be consultants.

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