Izbica

  
  - darkometer rating:  5 -
 
A village in eastern Poland, some 40 miles (65 km) south-east of Lublin (see Majdanek). It served as one of the main transit ghettos during the Holocaust, as it was located on the main 'Operation Reinhard' deportation train lines to the death camps of Belzec and Sobibor.
 
Before the Nazis took over, it used to be a small town with a ca. 90% Jewish population. Almost none of Izbica's Jews survived the Holocaust. One notable exception is Thomas Blatt, also the most famous Sobibor survivor. After WWII he helped track down Izbica's Gestapo chief Kurt Engels – namely in Hamburg. There Engels was even living under his real name, having run a café for many years without ever being bothered about his murderous Nazi past ... until he was found out.
 
Engels had his victims smash up the local Jewish cemetery's gravestones and use these stone fragments to construct the outer wall of Izbica's prison, in a former fire station, which is now the local police station. This uniquely vile act of desecration was only recently rectified, when the building was rediscovered and the stone fragments taken down. These were then transferred back to the site of the local Jewish cemetery where they were put together to form a dedicated monument to the dark fate of Izbica and its Jewish legacy.
 
Other than that, there's nothing much to see for the dark tourist, but Izbica could be a short stop en route from/to Lublin/Majdanek to/from Belzec.
 
Google maps locator:[50.89,23.16]
 
 

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