Sobibór. Extermination camp. From memories of Matel Rabinowicz. "In a short time later, the Judenrat in Włodawa got an order to delivery of 150 Jews for allegedly innocent works at Sobibór, ie. 15 km from Włodawa. From my German boss (...) I got to know that in Sobibór built something that will become famous all over the world, he did not want to say more for fear of the Gestapo. Purpose of the construction of these strange buildings no one could understand. Part of the forest around the Sobibór was fenced and no civilians walked there. After two months of construction apparently Germans wanted to test the performance of the gas in the common so-called bath. Naked Jews laborers brought to the bath in order to gassing them. A few, however, figured what was going on and they started running away. Two of them survived, one of them [is] Szaja, son-in-law of Fajwel Cukierman, the second name I do not remember, they were both from Włodawa. The half-naked in the dark night they sneaked into the city and went to, then living in Włodawa, a famous rabbi from Radzyń and told him about Sobibór and for what it was built. Rabbi from Radzyń ordered the three-day fast, asking God to take the care of helpless Jews. The news about the death camp in Sobibór (...) did in Włodawa horrible and depressing feeling."
Włodawa. In old times lived in Włodawa a poor single mother with son. The boy grew up as a drunker and he did not think about work. On the advice of a neighbor, she decided that the next time when son will come drunk, they together will take him to the cemetery, will bury him neck-deep in the ground, and when he will wake up, because of fear he will get sober and never will drink again. How they decided, so they did. That same night, near the cemetery a Jew, trader of vodka, was returning home with his commodity. When he heard moaning coming from the cemetery and then saw man digging out from the ground, terrified left a cartload with alcohol and ran away. In contrast, the recently buried son got drunk with joy again. Mother could not wait to return of the boy, went to the cemetery where she found him excavated and drunk. When she saw it, reportedly she said with a sigh: for drunker even on the cemetery the devil will bring the vodka.
Włodawa. Great Synagogue. The first Jews settled in Włodawa in the sixteenth century. They mainly engaged in trade (among of 45 stores in the marketplace, 40 belonged to Jews) and crafts (4 butchers, 3 tailors, 2 goldsmiths, bakers, furriers, barbers). The first electric light bulb lit in 1913 in the Great Synagogue. And electricity, of course, flowed from a Jewish power plant. The municipality never was very rich, and therefore often lacked the necessary funds to cover expenses. Municipal administration tried to get them by imposing new taxes and fees (eg. of salt, meat and other food products), which, in turn, met with strong opposition from the poor Jews. Therefore created a special Book of Burial Society, where recorded recalcitrant taxpayers. When died person recorded in the book - to family denied burial until the debt is settled.
Włodawa. The interior of the Great Synagogue. Built in the eighteenth century, is one of the few synagogues in Poland that survived World War II. Worth of attention is, full of symbols, a wardrobe for the Torah (aron ha-kodesz). At the bottom are images of musical instruments and quotes from Psalm 150: "Praise him with pomposity in the horn, praise him with the harp and lyre."The right side shows priestly hands in a gesture of blessing, a fruit basket on the left symbolizes the holiday of Shavuot. Over this, are two griffins adoring boards of covenant and menorah. Two skylights under the firmament has shape of the boards. Coming through it the sun's rays represent the "light of the Torah."
Włodawa. City of Three Religions. In the synagogue is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Polish and Włodawa Jews. You can see here exhibits from the nineteenth century, holy books, ritual robes and costly ornaments. On the first floor prepared permanent exhibition of objects of everyday use, with reconstructed a room of teacher. Every year in September takes place in Włodawa - a city where a priest, rabbi and pop lived together in one city - the festival of three cultures. A long time ago... priest, pop and rabbi wanted to see who is better at his profession. They decided that they will go into the woods, find a bear, and try to convert him. They meet in the evening. The priest started: - When I found a bear, I learned him the Catechism and sprinkled him with holy water. In next week he will accept the first communion. Then the pop boasted - I found a bear near of the stream and I screamed holy word of God. The bear was so impressed, that he let himself be baptized. They both look down at the rabbi, who lies wounded on stretchers. - As I think about him now - says Rabbi - Maybe I should not have to start from the circumcision...
Your journey by comfortable car (1-4 persons: Mercedes E or Volvo S80; 4-6 persons: Mercedes Viano or VW Mulitvan; 7-15 persons: Mercedes Spinter) will start from anywhere in Warsaw, at time which you will choose.
Upon arrival to Sobibór for 40 minutes you sightsee place of the camp with our guide (2 languages: english, polish). Then we visit Włodawa where for two hours we sightsee the temples of three religions - Catholic church with monastery (XVIII century), Orthodox church (XIX century) and complex of synagogues (XVIII century).
After completion of Sobibór & Włodawa Tour, our qualified driver takes you to any place in Warsaw.
1. Transit Warsaw - Sobibór.
2. Sobibór. Sightseeing of camp in Sobibór with guide. Monument of Remembrance for Victims, Avenue of Remembrance with names of Jews murdered in the camp, Sobibór railway station, memorial mound with ashes.
3. Transit Sobibór - Włodawa.
4. Włodawa. Sightseeing of Włodawa with guide. Church of St. Louis and Pauline monastery (XVIII century). Orthodox Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (XIX century). Small and Great Synagogue (XVIII century), Kehilla House (XX century).
5. Transit Włodawa - Warsaw.
The total duration of the tour: 10 hours.
Distance between Warsaw and Sobibór is 235 km / 146 miles.
Distance between Sobibór and Włodawa is 12 km / 7 miles.
Distance between Włodawa and Warsaw is 225 km / 140 miles.
Approximate driving time one way: 3 hours 30 minutes.
Time of Sobibór-Włodawa Tour may vary slightly due to the situation on the road or random events which are out of Organizer's control.