Demjanjuk trial: camp testimony

By Toby Axelrod in Berlin, January 21, 2010

The war crimes trial of John Demjanjuk continued this week with testimony from Thomas Blatt, one of the few survivors the Sobibor death camp.

But while Mr Blatt’s testimony was powerful in depicting the everyday terror for prisoners in Sobibor, it is doubtful that he brought the case closer to resolution, since Mr Blatt, 82, has always stressed he does not recall seeing Demjanjuk at the camp.

The Ukrainian-born defendant, 89, is charged as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor in 1943.

Prosecutors say they will present hard evidence Demjanjuk was a guard at the camp. And Mr Blatt has maintained that all guards were accomplices to murder.

In testimony this week, he said the Ukrainian guards usually carried carbine rifles with bayonettes, which they used when loading Eastern European Jews off trains and driving them towards the gas chambers.

Another survivor, Philip Bialowitz, was also due to testify this week.

But Mr Bialowitz told reporters he did not remember the faces of all the guards.

Last updated: 3:54pm, January 21 2010