Jury see pictures of Death Road

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The Independent Online
THE JURY in Britain's first Nazi war crimes trial was yesterday shown photographs in Eastern Europe where a South London pensioner is alleged to have murdered 20 Jews more than 50 years ago.

Over a period of several hours, the Old Bailey jury studied aerial and ground photographs of Domachevo, the town in Belarus where Polish-born Anthony Sawoniuk served with the police force during the Nazi occupation of 1941-44. The pictures showed the site of the Jewish ghetto, the sand hills on the outskirts of town where 2,900 Jews were killed in one day and the so-called Road of Death which linked the sand hills to the ghetto.

The evidence came during the third day of the trial of Mr Sawoniuk, 77, from Bermondsey, who is charged, under 1991 legislation, with four counts of murder in 1942. Mr Sawoniuk denies the charges.

Yesterday, John Nutting QC, for the prosecution, said it was important that the jury understood the layout of the town and its surrounding area.

In an unprecedented move, the court will next week visit Domachevo.

Each photograph shown yesterday featured a different overview of the town which suffered under the Nazis. Photograph 33 showed the ghetto where the Germans insisted the Jewish population live in cramped conditions, with virtually no food and under persistent harassment from the authorities.

Photograph 35 showed the town's Catholic church. The jury had previously been told it was from here that a witness, Galina Puchkina, saw the Germans lead hundreds of Jews to the sand hills. She remembered hearing the sound of gunfire as the men, women and children were executed.

Mr Nutting alleged that on one occasion, a witness saw Mr Sawoniuk order 15 women to strip naked before shooting them and pushing them into a pre-dug grave.

The trial continues.