MUNICH, Germany — Evidence presented at John Demjanjuk's trial suggests Ukrainian guards faced possibly deadly consequences if they attempted to flee Nazi death camps after agreeing to serve the SS.
In a 1943 letter from Auschwitz to the Trawniki camp, where the guards were trained — read aloud Monday in court — officials report 15 Ukrainian guards attempted escape. Six succeeded, but one was recaptured and eight were killed.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk is being tried on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder on accusations he served at the Sobibor death camp.
He denies having served in a death camp. But his attorneys also argue that Ukrainians captured while fighting for the Soviets had little choice but to agree to serve the Nazis and then faced death if they tried to escape.