This is a hard to watch, but worth watching movie on the prisoner revolt at Sobibor, one of the worst Nazi death camps in Poland. Sobibor was a secret camp in the woods of eastern Poland but it is estimated 250,000 or more Jews were killed there, and the camp was operational for not even two years, the camp opening in May 1942 and closed after the October 1943 revolt. The Nazis tried their best to clean the area of evidence of their crimes, but human ashes are still located there today, and remnants of the gas chambers.
The movie starts out with the arrival of a train of Jews to the camp, as the SS warn the Jewish prisoners not to panic them or they will be killed. The Jews are split into two groups, women and children on one side, and men and boys 14 and older on the other. The guards go down the line asking for people with special skills, such as seamstresses, tailors, shoemakers, etc.. Unknown to them this saves their lives. The rest of the prisoners are told by the SS they must go to the showers and then begin working in the camp, where they will begin working but enjoy good food and lodgings. In a very moving scene made worse by the sad music being played as the women and children walk down the road waving to their loved ones behind, including the mother and sister of a teenage goldsmith who is one of the main characters of the story. Several elderly people are pushed on a cart as they are too infirm to walk, and finally the men and boys are made to move, among them the father of the goldsmith and his younger brother. It is hard to watch as the viewer knows all of them are going to soon be killed. The only prisoners left behind are a group of women and men selected for their skills, and an old man who hits a Nazi officer after predicting the fall of the Reich. He is shot by Gustav Wagner, among the most brutal of the Nazis at Sobibor, after the other prisoners have been taken to the gas chambers. The goldsmith and his brother produce valuables for the Nazis, and when the teenager asks a Nazi officer when he can see his parents and sister he is told they are working hard and are happy, which we know is a lie. Meanwhile, the prisoners begin to find out the truth about the camp and that their loved ones have all been killed. The goldsmith's brother finds this out personally when he is sent to get gold for a Nazi sergeant, and sees naked prisoners outside a gas chamber while hearing the screams of those being killed inside. The most graphic scene of the movie (in my opinion) occurs during this scene when a naked little boy runs away from the line and a dog is set loose to chase him. The last thing we ever see is the dog closing in and a woman screaming. After hearing this the goldsmith meets with the other prisoners plotting an escape and when some prisoners try to escape the camp they are captured and brought back, and forced to pick someone to be shot with them. Another hard to watch scene is when Wagner discovers the baby of a woman working as a seamstress. Although he only plans to shoot the baby the mother spits on him and takes the baby back, resulting in him shooting them both.
The film ends with the prisoners revolting, killing several guards but many being killed by mines and machine gun fire. Despite this the camp was closed after the mass escape and it was the largest prisoner escape from a Nazi death camp. This is not a movie to watch if you get upset easily or have a soft stomach but still gripping and much worth watching.