Demjanjuk trial witness describes deportation
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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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