As part of its annual commemoration of Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass” in 1938 which is recognized as the beginning of the Nazis’ Final Solution), the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara will pay tribute to Thomas Blatt. Mr. Blatt was a Holocaust Survivor, escapee from the Nazi death camp Sobibor, and author, who served as a witness in the trial of Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian guard at Sobibor, who was convicted of thousands of counts of being an accessory to murder.
A longtime participant in Federation programs, including our Portraits of Survival permanent exhibit and Survivor support group, Mr. Blatt spoke countless times to school groups and others about his experiences and fervently sought to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten and never repeated.
His story, told in his book Sobibor : The Forgotten Revolt - A Survivor’s Report, was the basis for the film Escape from Sobibor. It was the only mass escape from a Nazi death camp and most involved did not survive. Of the roughly 300 people who made it out of the camp, two thirds were killed by land mines, guards’ gunfire or in the ensuing manhunt. Mr. Blatt was just 16-years-old and was one of only roughly 50 escapees to survive the war. After the revolt, Sobibor was demolished, and every Jew who remained in the camp was executed.
Federation’s Kristallnacht commemoration will take place Sunday, November 8, from 1-3 pm at the Bronfman Family Jewish Community Center, 524 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara.
For more information or interviews, please contact Diana Oplinger at (805) 957-1115, ext.114 or Diana@sbjf.org