Thomas Toivi Blatt, who was among a small number of Jews to survive a mass escape from the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in 1943 and who decades later served as a prominent witness at the trial of the alleged camp guard John Demjanjuk, has died. He was 88.

Polish-born Blatt, who lost both parents and a younger brother in the gas chambers of Sobibor, died Saturday morning at his home in Santa Barbara, California, a Warsaw-based friend, Alan Heath, told The Associated Press.

Heath remembered Blatt as a "quiet and modest person" who suffered nightmares and depression until the end of his life, yet never wanted vengeance either for the Germans for the murder of the Jews or the complicity of many of his anti-Semitic Polish countrymen.