Film to show how technology uncovered secrets of death camp

Film to show how technology uncovered secrets of death camp

Duquesne University will mark Kristallnacht by screening a documentary honoring the 70th anniversary of a Jewish rebellion at the Nazi extermination camp of Sobibor.

The 35-minute film, “Deadly Deception at Sobibor,” will be screened, Monday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m., at Duquesne’s Power Center, Forbes Avenue at Chatham Square.

In addition, the program will include two featured speakers on the subject:

• Philip Reeder, dean of Duquesne’s Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and a participant in research at Sobibor, The Science of Sobibor. An environmental scientist specializing in paleo-environmental and paleo-climate reconstruction, he was responsible for all surveying and map production associated with the project.

•Yoram Haimi, Israel Antiquities Authority regional archaeologist from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose two uncles died at Sobibor. The documentary chronicles Haimi’s attempt to understand what happened to his family during the Holocaust.

Sobibor was an extermination camp on the remote edges of eastern Poland and the scene of a successful, large-scale rebellion on Oct. 14, 1943. Following the escape of about 500 Jewish prisoners, the Nazis quickly buried the camp under tons of dirt, then planted trees to stop word of the rebellion from spreading and inspiring others.

Ironically, the effort to hide the camp actually preserved it. Working with others from around the world, including Duquesne’s Reeder, this research effort used ground-penetrating radar to perform high-tech mapping, ensuring that burial sites would not be disturbed.

The excavations uncovered artifacts of victims, including children, in their original locations along the walkways and buildings used to exterminate nearly 250,000 Jews.

The documentary shows how technology, conventional archaeology and the testimonies of survivors were used to uncover this piece of history that was intended to remain hidden.

The program is free and open to the public.