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1999 saw Britain’s first and only ever Nazi war crimes trial. The trial brought Andrei Sawoniuk – a retired ticket inspector, charged with murdering Jews during the Nazi occupation of Belarus – face to face for the first time in over 50 years with Ben-Zion Blustein, his former childhood friend and now a key witness for the prosecution. Mike Anderson, author of The Ticket Collector from Belarus and Jon Silverman, who covered the trial as BBC home affairs correspondent, join Philip Rubenstein, former director of the parliamentary campaign that enabled Nazi perpetrators living in the UK to be prosecuted, to discuss the extraordinary story of the trial and its aftermath.
Mike Anderson is a senior employee of one of the world’s oldest private banks. He considers himself fortunate to have stumbled across this extraordinary true story and has been relentless in his pursuit of the tale of Britain’s only war crimes prosecution and the parallel lives of Ben-Zion Blustein and Andrei Sawoniuk.
Jon Silverman is Professor of Media & Criminal Justice at the University of Bedfordshire. He’s the former BBC Home Affairs Correspondent who won the Sony Gold award for his reporting on Nazi war crimes inquiries in the 1990s. He’s the author of three books on subjects ranging from crack cocaine to paedophiles and is currently writing a book for Oxford University Press on the UK’s war crimes investigations, 1945-2000.
Philip Rubenstein was the director of the All-Party Parliamentary War Crimes Group, which campaigned successfully in the 1980s to change the law to enable the prosecution of Nazi war criminals living in the UK. He was the first director of the Holocaust Educational Trust, a former board member of the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), and is currently a trustee of the International Centre for Jewish Studies (ICJS).