Sobibor perpetrator photo collection

Came across this photo collection that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum published in August 2020. It is a collection of photographs and documents that chronicle SS officer Johann Niemann’s rise through the ranks of the SA, SS, and eventually Deputy Commander of the Sobibor extermination camp.

Among the collection is the first published images of Sobibor in operation before the October 14th, 1943 prisoner uprising. Niemann was among the 11 SS men killed during the uprising.

Figured you all here might find it interesting.

Thank you!


A very warm welcome to this forum
Its a topic that is both interesting and really scaring that you bring up. I often wondered how an openminded and tolerant city as Berlin became the center for the worst killing arrangements the world have ever seen. It seems that normal peoples mindset was just moved a little bit at a time, until the unthinkable had become the new normal.


I have always seen the deafening silence of the people as a combination of successful propaganda, using the war as a distraction, the need to focus on ones own survival, and the simple fact of just not wanting to be involved. And like you said, a slowly developing mindset as the atrocities started small and just kept growing.

The 1969 French documentary film ‘The Sorrow And The Pity’, written and directed by Marcel Ophuls, is one of the best examples of digging into the how and why most people simply did nothing. Albeit, from the French peresptive in Vichy France.


Hi good point,
Here is a good lecture on especially France in WW2 and this documentary. What complicated their history is that Petain “the hero of Verdun” sided with the National Socialist in an attempt for “moral restoration” and that the previous prime minister Blum happened to be a Jew.

Also the Vichy French state in our timeline kept existing so it was less clear cut than “we are fully occupied” and the others are evil. Directly after the war the myth became prevalent that almost all the French were part of the resistance etc.

Instead of museums for the resistance they should be museums of collaboration. (Even if it won’t sell much tickets).

See below, these Yale lectures are pretty good unlike their IT ones don’t grow old fast: