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Demjanjuk trial witness describes deportation

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 00:19

Munich: A survivor of the Sobibor death camp
testified that Ukrainian guards in Nazi-occupied Poland were
worse than the infamous SS Nazi paramilitary police as he
recalled his experiences today at the trial of John Demjanjuk.

The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, a retired auto worker who
was deported from the US in May, is charged with 27,900 counts
of accessory to murder for his alleged activities as a guard
at Sobibor.

Jules Schelvis, an 88-year-old from the Netherlands,
recalled being deported to Sobibor in 1943 along with his
family. He told the Munich state court that he lost 18
relatives -- including his wife, Rachel -- at the camp in
occupied Poland.

Schelvis, one of dozens of victims` relatives who have
joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German
law, recounted his 72-hour journey from the Dutch transit camp
of Westerbork in a cramped freight car, with no food and
little water or fresh air.
"We were crammed in like herrings in a barrel," Schelvis
testified. He said the people on board knew little about what
was happening and thought they were being deported for labour.
"We just knew that we were travelling to the east, that
was all," he said.
At Sobibor, Schelvis recalled, the new arrivals were made
to leave all their belongings in a hut before an SS man
separated the men from the women, who "disappeared from view."


First Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 00:19
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