A Russian survivor of the Nazi death camp Sobibor has said that a man on trial for working at the death camp, John Demjanjuk, was definitely one of the guards.
Published: 7:00AM GMT 04 Feb 2010
John Demjanjuk is accused of being a guard at Sobibor camp in occupied Poland and aiding the murder of 27,900 Dutch Jews who were gassed during his alleged time there.
"I remember him, I remember them all," Alexei Vaitsen, 87, told Czech Radio.
"He was a guard. I saw him leading a group of prisoners to work in a forest."
Mr Vaitsen, a Jewish veteran paratrooper who is seriously ill after several heart attacks, was shown a photograph of John Demjanjuk by a reporter.
Mr Vaitsen is the first living witness to positively identify Demjanjuk, who is on trial in Munich in what is likely to be the last major case dealing with war crimes by the Nazi regime.
Demjanjuk, 89, claims that he was a prisoner of the Germans for the whole of the war and has not said a word since the trial begun last month.
He was arrested, tried and sentenced to death in Israel 20 years ago but was cleared when new evidence surfaced.
"I'm glad he was put on trial," said Mr Vaitsen, who lost his entire family in the war and escaped from Sobibor after a rebellion in late 1943.
"But can you really call that a trial when he refuses to communicate with the judge?
"I would like a real trial for him, one that he couldn't escape again."
Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, told Czech Radio the discovery was "great news" but said it had to be verified.
Prosecution lawyers are using testimony from survivors to prove that if Demjanjuk was a guard at the camp, he would have played an active role in the mass killings there.
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New Release: Debating The Holocaust by Thomas Dalton