Sobibor survivor tells what happened, but can’t identify Demjanjuk
MUNICH, Germany (WJC) — Thomas Blatt, 82, a survivor of the Sobibor death camp where Ivan Demjanjuk was allegedly employed as a guard by the Nazis, has given testimony at Demjanjuk’s trial in Munich. Blatt’s family was killed at Sobibor, and at the age of 15, Blatt was ordered to sort out the belongings of Jews sent to the gas chambers at the Nazi death camp.
A co-plaintiff in the case against Demjanjuk – who is charged with helping to murder 27,900 Jews in 1943 – Blatt was giving testimony for the first time. Prosecutors say Demjanjuk, 89, was a guard at Sobibor at the time Blatt was there.
“My dreams are so real. I cannot escape. I am still there,” Blatt told the court in a mixture of English and German. “We knew we would die, that we would be gassed.” He said he did not recognize Demjanjuk from his time at Sobibor. The defendent, lying on a bed in the court room, did not look at or respond to Blatt and pulled a baseball cap low over his face so his eyes were hidden.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk fought in the Red Army before being captured by the Nazis. He is accused by prosecutors of working as a guard for the SS and helping them kill Jews at the camp. He denies a role in the Holocaust and his lawyers dispute he was at Sobibor.
Blatt said that if Demjanjuk was at Sobibor at the same time as him, he was a murderer. “There were only 17 SS soldiers in Sobibor at any one time. The Ukrainian guards carried out the killings. They pushed people into the gas chambers,” he told reporters.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress