WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Polish and Israeli archaeologists discovered traces of an underground tunnel at the site of the former death camp in Sobibor.
The tunnel, whose discovery was announced on Wednesday, ran from a barracks to outside the camp fence. It may have been dug by the prisoners of the Sonderkommando who worked in the camp burning the corpses of murdered Jews.
The archeology work at Sobibor is directed by Wojciech Mazurek of Chelm, Poland, and Yoram Haimi of Israel.
Though the tunnel would have helped the prisoners to escape, Mazurek does not believe it was used.
“The Germans found the tunnel and therefore shot and then burned the entire crew of the Sonderkommando,” Mazurek told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.
At Sobibor, Nazis murdered about 250,000 Jews mostly from Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The camp was closed following an uprising on Oct. 14, 1943; about half the remaining prisoners escaped during the uprising.