Nazi guard saga drags on as US family fights deportation

16th April 2009, Comments 2 comments

Demjanjuk, 89, was granted a last minute reprieve Tuesday as he waited in a federal building to be extradited to Germany to face charges of aiding in the murder of more than 29,000 Jews during World War II.

Seven Hills -- A decades-long saga over the alleged war crimes committed by Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was set to drag on for days if not weeks Wednesday as his family prepared their latest appeal of his deportation.

Demjanjuk, 89, was granted a last minute reprieve Tuesday as he waited in a federal building to be extradited to Germany to face charges of aiding in the murder of more than 29,000 Jews during World War II.

Just hours earlier he had been carried moaning in a wheelchair out of his yellow brick home in Seven Hills, Ohio by five immigration agents as his family sobbed in the driveway.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement allowed Demjanjuk to return home with an electronic tracking bracelet around his ankle, but said it would continue to pursue the case.

Demjanjuk's lawyer has argued that his client is in poor health, and that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture.

His family says he is bedridden and suffers from a host of ailments including kidney disease, arthritis and cancer which makes him unfit to fly and criticized US and German authorities for putting his life at risk.

"We could have been making funeral arrangements today," his son, John Demjanjuk Jr. told AFP.

"The Germans have a medical opinion that Mr. Demjanjuk is not fit for trial, and that it would be a further danger to his life to fly. And that danger does not diminish with an oxygen machine on board the plane. What if it fails?"

The younger Demjanjuk, who insists that his father did not participate in the extermination of Jews, said he is confident the US federal appeals court will block deportation on medical grounds.

Putting the octogenarian on trial will send an important signal that those who participate in genocide will be "be pursued until their last days on earth," said Jonathan Drimmera, a former federal prosecutor who spent years in charge of Demjanjuk's case.

"The evidence against Demjanjuk is rock solid, and based on seven authentic Nazi-created wartime documents that contain Demjanjuk's name, biographical and physical details, and even a photograph.

"A former comrade who served with Demjanjuk at the camp specifically recalled that Demjanjuk escorted prisoners to the gas chambers as part of his daily work, and was repeatedly assigned to gather prisoners from surrounding ghettos to deliver them to the camp to be killed."

Tuesday's ruling was just the latest twist in a long saga for the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who changed his name from Ivan to John when he emigrated to the United States in 1952.

Former wartime inmates of Nazi camps in occupied Poland identified him as notorious Ukrainian prison guard "Ivan the Terrible" during a 1977 US Justice Department investigation.

An Israeli court sentenced him to death in 1988, but the country's Supreme Court overturned the conviction five years later, after statements from former guards identified another man as the sadistic "Ivan."

He was returned to the United States despite strenuous objections from Holocaust survivors and Jewish groups who said he should be retried based on the ample evidence that he was a death camp guard.

The US government filed new charges in 1999 using fresh evidence that surfaced following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He was stripped of his US citizenship in 2002 but remained in Ohio long after his appeals of that decision were exhausted because the United States could not find a country willing to accept the now-stateless alleged war criminal.

Germany issued a warrant for Demjanjuk's arrest on March 11.


2 Comments To This Article

  • Legadoo posted:

    on 16th April 2009, 14:54:37 - Reply

    When Demjanjuk was on trial for allegedly being "Ivan the Terrible" at Treblinka, for which he faced the death penalty, the American OSI (Office of Special Investigations) ALREADY HAD evidence that suggested Demjanjuk was in fact stationed at Sobibor. They SUPPRESSED this information (until now), even though this could have help prove Demjanjuk was NOT Ivan the Terrible (the Israelis eventually came to the same conclusion).

    For this reason alone, this new prosecution stinks!!
  • Neil posted:

    on 16th April 2009, 04:26:44 - Reply

    Before you put this 89 year old dying man on trial, maybe Germany has enough guts to place the holocaust on trial. Unfortunately, I'm afraid Germany is Zionist controlled just like the United States.

    There is no documented evidence of a single gas chamber ever having existed.
    With all the allied soldiers passing through the liberated camps, not a single Russian, British, French or American soldier or Nuremberg TrIal investigator got a single photo of a single gas chamber. So much for the best documented crime in human history.
    No documentation exists of the many hundreds of ovens that would be required to incinerate even a small fraction of the alleged six million.
    Zyklon B, still manufactured in the Czech Republic, has been proven ineffective as an agent of mass murder.
    The holocaust is a faith-based religion.
    The holocaust is a lie.
    TRUTH fears no trial.
    TRUTH does not require laws for protection. Only lies need the protection of laws. Scholar-historian and chemical engineering thought criminals are currently imprisoned in Germany for merely questioning the holocaust.
    Shame on you!
    All Germans and Austrians should be deported from the United States immediately until you handle this huge lie you've helped infect the world with.