Esther Rabb was born in1922 to a middle-class Jewish family in Chelm, Poland. In December 1942, she was deported from a work camp to the Sobibor extermination camp where she was assigned to sort clothing and the possessions of the people murdered at the camp.
During the summer and fall of 1943, Leon Feldhendler and Aleksandr (Sasha) Pechersky planned a revolt and Rabb was one of the prisoners who intended to escape. The uprising began at four o'clock on October 14, 1943. The electric and telephone wires were cut to prevent the guards for calling for help. According to Rabb, the prisoners were assigned to kill the SS overseer and the guard where they worked. She acted as a messenger signaling how many guards were killed.
The prisoners tried to escape through the main gate, but the guards opened fire and forced them to take a chance on racing through the minefield surrounding the camp. Amazingly, 300 escaped, but more than 100 were recaptured and shot. Rabb was one of the lucky ones who escaped and survived.