People prove to be capable of surviving under extremely difficult circumstances, solely thanks to their power of imagination: from her childhood this fascinated Lily van den Bergh. That is why Opstand in Sobibor has not become a film like Claude Lanzmann's Shoah: "Where Shoah stops, this films intends to portray the involved people's lives." Not death but life is at the centre of this film.
Together with the Russian director Pavel Kogan she started shaping this idea. It has resulted in the first Russian-Dutch co-production in the field of documentary; a cooperation that did not always go smoothly due to the language barrier, differing artistic views, and varying working methods. Finally, all was brought to a favourable conclusion.
Opstand in Sobibor deals with the present-day life of four people who, together with four hundred other people, took part in the famous revolt in Sobibor in 1943. Van den Bergh: "The most intense moment of survival for the people in the film was the escape from Sobibor. But after that, life continued for them. They haved not stopped surviving. Therefore, I wanted to show that the drama stops and that reconciliation is possible.
A number of video interviews has been incorporated in the film that Jules Schelvis did with survivors of Sobibor in 1984 and 1985. These took place in the days of the trial of Karl Frenzel, one of the camp executioners in Sobibor. For Lily van den Bergh, the meeting with Jules Schelvis in 1985 was the direct reason for making this film.