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Family and friends mourn ‘Prisoner 88′ Sigmund Sobolewski

sigmund sobolewski

Sigmund Sobolewski, known as ‘Prisoner 88′ from his time at Auschwitz, lived in Fort Macleod.

A man who survived the horrors of Auschwitz and went on to become a businessman, activist and author died Monday in Cuba.
Sigmund Sobolewski, who came to be known as “Prisoner 88” for the number he was assigned when interned into the Nazi death camp, was 94.
Sobolewski was one of 744 Catholics arrested by the Nazis on June 14, 1940 in his small town and taken to a warehouse. His mother was also picked up but talked her way to freedom.
Sobolewski’s father was an officer in the Polish army and Sigmund had spent four years at a cadet school that was to lead him on the same path. Sobolewski kept that to himself, and told the Germans he was a worker in a sawmill.
Young, strong and athletic, Sobolewski was assigned to the Auschwitz fire brigade. Unlike the more than 1.1-million people killed at Auschwitz, Sobolewski survived.
Sobolewski, who with Rabbi Roy Tanenbaum wrote a book on his experiences at Auschwitz titled Prisoner 88: The Man in Stripes, said people have to learn from the horrors of “the biggest killing operation in Germany.”
“We can’t judge people by appearance. We can’t judge them by their religion. We are all human beings. We are all decent people.”
“We have to be fair people who treat everybody else fairly. This kind of intolerance is horrible.”
Sobolewski frequently spoke about his experiences as Auschwitz and the Nazi regime, and took part in protests against neo Nazi activity.
After World War Two he might have ended up a U.S. citizen if not for an experience in Galveston, Texas, in 1946.
Sobolewski had just disembarked from a ship there when he saw the way some black sailors were being treated by the police. He decided to immigrate to Canada, living in Ontario before coming to Fort Macleod in 1981.
Sobolewski is survived by his wife Ramona and sons Vladimir, Simon and Emil.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Brad Schurman Says:

    I knew Sigmund as an acquaintance many years ago, having been invited to join him to return to Auchwitz and video docu his trip. Im sorry I didnt work harder to gather the funds to do so. I also regret not being involved enough in his life to be considered a friend.
    Meanwhile he gave me many books to research and read about the Holocaust, which haunted me to no end. It was an education that the school system DELIBERATELY avoids and ignores, which made me feel angry at being denied a proper world events education growing up.
    Last year almost to the month, I travelled to the Ft thinking he was still in Canada, and hoped to reacquaint with how his life is going. I met Vladimir instead.

    Vladimir, my sympathies to you and your family in your loss. I hope your relationship with him was strong despite how obsessed he was with publicly sharing his experience