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Archaeology, Documentary Shine Light on Once-Hidden Jewish Death Camp

A documentary honoring the 70th anniversary of a Jewish rebellion at the Nazi extermination camp of Sobibor will be screened at Duquesne University.

Besides the 35-minute film, Deadly Deception at Sobibor, featured speakers are:

  • Dr. 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, whose two uncles perished in the death camp. Haimi will provide an illustrated lecture of his quest of a lifetime.
  • The documentary chronicles Haimi's attempt to understand what happened to his family during the Holocaust. Sobibor, an extermination camp on the remote edges of eastern Poland, was the site for 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 and planted trees to stop word of the rebellion from spreading and inspiring others.

Ironically, the effort to hide the camp inadvertently preserved it. Working with others from around the world, including 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 are uncovered this piece of history that was intended to remain hidden.

When:  Monday, Nov. 11, from 7 to 10 p.m.

7 p.m., Reeder address      

7:20 p.m., Haimi lecture, Archaeology of the Holocaust: Excavations at Sobibor

8:30 p.m., Film screening and questions-and-answer session with Haimi

9:30 p.m., reception and informational discussions

Where: Power Center, Duquesne University, Forbes Avenue at Chatham Square, Pittsburgh

Admission:  Free and open to the public

Sponsored by: The Nathan J. and Helen Goldrich Foundation, Duquesne University and its Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.