Munich. A former Soviet soldier taken prisoner by the Germans during World War II testified at the trial of John Demjanjuk on Wednesday that he didn't know he would be used as a concentration camp guard when he agreed to work for the Nazis.
Ukrainian-born Alex Nagorny told the Munich state court that, when he was recruited from a prisoner of war camp, he agreed to serve to stave off hunger. "I was simply asked if I wanted to work and I was hungry", the 92-year-old testified. "That was all". Prosecutors allege that, like Nagorny, Demjanjuk agreed to serve the Germans and was trained at the Trawniki SS camp before being sent to work as a guard, reports Associated Press.
Nagorny told the court that, after he agreed to serve the Germans, he was sent from his prisoner of war camp in Chelm, Poland, to the nearby Trawniki camp, where he received only rudimentary military training. In statements to German investigators, Nagorny has said he was sent from Trawniki to Flossenbuerg with Demjanjuk. Though Demjanjuk is not charged with any crimes at Flossenbuerg, the statement is important to proving he was a guard, said Thomas Walther, who led the investigation that prompted Germany to prosecute Demjanjuk.
Demjanjuk is accused of serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp and charged as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews there. He, however, denies ever having served as a camp guard, saying he has been mistaken for someone else.