British police have been pursuing an investigation in recent weeks of a 90-year-old citizen who is suspected of Nazi war crimes. According to a British newspaper report, he is said to have served with John Demjanjuk as a guard in a labor camp during World War II.
Alexander Huryn, a retired carpenter, has been living in retirement facility in Hampshire with English-born wife Diana, also 90. Over the past 60 years, since he left the war-ravaged Europe, he has kept secret a troublesome history of crimes similar to those of which Demjanjuk was recently convicted.
According to his family, Huryn is receiving a monthly pension from the German army for his contribution to the war effort.
Served with SS to the end
The British police investigation found that Huryn was born and raised in Ukraine. It is unclear whether he volunteered or was drafted when his region was taken over by Germany, but at one point Huryn joined the SS and was stationed at the Trawniki labor camp in Poland.
Thousands of Jews died at Trawniki from starvation, disease, shooting and hanging; the few who survived recounted the cruelty of the guards, who tortured and murdered Jewish inmates.
Huryn is also suspected of serving on the SS battalion that committed atrocities against Polish civilians in 1944 and 1945.
In the summer of 1944, when Soviet forces took over Trawniki, most of the Ukrainian guards fled the camp. But according to documents unearthed in Moscow, Kiev and Prague, Huryn evidently chose to remain with the German forces, fighting alongside the Nazis until the final battle.
'Dad never talked about war'
Following the war, Huryn entered the UK, apparently concealing details about his past from the immigration officials. He first settled in Scotland, and later in London, got married and had a daughter. He received British citizenship in 1965.
"My dad never talked much about the war," his daughter, Sophie Huryn, said. "But I remember him saying that his family had told him it would be better for them if he joined the Germans. They were an occupying force."
Huryn’s Trawniki identity certificate, which was unearthed by Holocaust researcher Dr. Stephen Ankier, shows Huryn's place and date of birth, and bears a passport-style photograph of him taken in 1943.
Huryn was first interviewed by Scotland Yard as a potential witness, not a suspect, but British Parliament members are urging the police to expand the investigation and indict him. Some even demand him to be deported due to the suspicion he forged his immigration documents and concealed his Nazi past.
Huryn refused to comment on the accusations, noting only that remembers nothing from the war.
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