Historian at Demjanjuk trial says escapee guards were shot
Munich University historian Dieter Pohl was giving evidence for a second day at the trial where Demjanjuk, 89, is accused of being an accessory to 27,900 murders at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.
Pohl detailed how Nazi Germany recruited Soviet prisoners of war to wear the SS uniform and carry out killings during the Holocaust.
Asked what happened if they tried to stop the work and flee after seeing the death camps, Pohl said they could expect to be executed as an example.
Yet a significant number did run away, Pohl said, and not all were executed after being caught. Some were given given military prison terms or incarcerated in concentration camps instead, he explained.
Pohl described how an SS base at Trawniki in occupied Poland trained 4,000 to 5,000 ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and POWs to do SS work. They were dubbed the Trawniki men.
In one case, two Trawniki men and five inmates joined together to escape from Sobibor. The Nazis caught both Trawniki men and one inmate and executed them.
'I'm not Hitler'
As Pohl spoke, Demjanjuk lay on a stretcher with his mouth open and a trademark blue cap over his face.
Throughout the trial so far, the normally chatty former Ohio factory worker has not spoken, though he was animated on Tuesday outside the courtroom, quipping to a German television team, "What's up? I'm not Hitler!"
Pohl said the Trawniki men also helped in mass shootings of Jewish prisoners judged to be too sick to work or be transported by rail.
Prosecutors at the Demjanjuk trial have produced what they say is Demjanjuk's SS personnel record, but have no witnesses who remember seeing the Ukraine-born man at Sobibor.
Trawniki men volunteered to collaborate with the enemy, according to Pohl, after seeing their fellow Soviets die in the atrocious conditions and starvation of German-run POW camps.
"Not much is known about the behavior of individual Trawniki men," said Pohl, while adding that there were differences between those who identified entirely with the Nazis and others who quietly passed news or warnings to inmates.
comments powered by Disqus
nerriwy wang - 1/14/2010
Prom Dresses 2010 including designer Jovani prom dresses, cheap and affordable prom dresses,
sexy prom dress, wedding, bridesmaid and mother of the bride
Shop prom dresses, formal dresses, prom shoes, 2010 designer prom gowns at PromGirl.
- New museum in Poland -- the grandest space created since 1989 -- tells the story of the Jews
- Lewinsky mistreated by authorities in investigation of Clinton, report says
- Scientists Say Proof Of Jack The Ripper's Identity Is Fatally Flawed
- Memorial for black Revolutionary War soldiers finds spot on Mall after 30 years
- Sherlock Holmes star to feature in a new movie about Alan Turning
- How Laurel Thatcher Ulrich caught up with the past
- Postal Workers Take on Harvard President, historian Drew Faust
- Symposium held in honor of John D’Emilio
- Thousands of Historic Archives from British Asylums to Go Online
- American Studies Association boycott of Israel: Conservatives say it’s weakening