World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John Demjanjuk

Article Id: WHEBN0000217245
Reproduction Date:

Title: John Demjanjuk  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Treblinka extermination camp, Franz Stangl, In the news/Candidates/March 2012, In the news/Candidates/May 2011, Dov Freiberg
Collection: 1920 Births, 2012 Deaths, 20Th-Century Ukrainian People, Disease-Related Deaths in Germany, German Emigrants to the United States, Holocaust Perpetrators, Loss of United States Citizenship by Prior Nazi Affiliation, Overturned Convictions in Germany, Overturned Convictions in Israel, People Deported from the United States, People Extradited from the United States, People Extradited to Israel, People from Koziatyn Raion, People from Kozyatyn Raion, Prisoners Sentenced to Death by Israel, Soviet Military Personnel of World War II, Soviet Prisoners of War, Stateless People, Ukrainian Anti-Communists, Ukrainian Collaborators with Nazi Germany
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

John Demjanjuk

John Demjanjuk
Demjanjuk (centre) hearing his death sentence on 25 April 1988 in Jerusalem, Israel. The guilty verdict was later overturned.
Born Ivan Mykolaiovych Demjanjuk
(1920-04-03)3 April 1920
Dubovi Makharyntsi, Berdychiv uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Ukrainian People's Republic
Died 17 March 2012(2012-03-17) (aged 91)
Bad Feilnbach, Bavaria, Germany
Cause of death Natural causes
Occupation Auto worker
Criminal charge war crimes
Spouse(s) Vera[1]
Children John Demjanjuk Jr.

John Demjanjuk (born Ivan Mykolaiovych Demianiuk; Ukrainian: Іван Миколайович Дем'янюк; 3 April 1920 – 17 March 2012) was a retired Ukrainian-American auto worker, a former soldier in the Soviet Red Army, and a POW during the Second World War.

John (Ivan) Demjanjuk was convicted in 2011 in Germany as an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews while acting as a guard at the Sobibor Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland.[2][3] Since his conviction was pending appeal at the time of his death,[3][4][5] Demjanjuk remained innocent under German law, his conviction not having undergone the appeal judgment. According to the Munich state court, Demjanjuk does not have a criminal record.[6]

Demjanjuk was born in Ukraine, and during World War II was drafted into the Soviet Red Army, where he was captured as a German prisoner of war. In 1952, he emigrated from West Germany to the United States, and was granted citizenship in 1958 whereupon he formally anglicized his name from "Ivan" to "John".[7][8]

In 1986, he was deported to Israel to stand trial for war crimes, after being identified by eleven Holocaust survivors,[9] many from Israel, as "Ivan the Terrible",[10] a guard at the Treblinka extermination camp in Nazi occupied Poland. Demjanjuk was accused of committing murder and acts of extraordinarily savage violence against camp prisoners during 1942–43. He was convicted of having committed crimes against humanity and sentenced to death there in 1988. The verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993, based on new evidence that cast reasonable doubt over the identity of "Ivan the Terrible".[11] After the trial, in September 1993, Demjanjuk returned to his home in Ohio. In 1998, his citizenship was restored after a United States federal appeals court ruled that prosecutors had suppressed exculpatory evidence concerning his identity.[12]

In 2001, with new evidence, Demjanjuk was charged again, this time on the grounds that he had served as a guard named Ivan Demjanjuk at the Sobibor and Majdanek camps in Nazi occupied Poland and at the Flossenbürg camp in Germany; separate documents were found in archives from each respective camp. Demjanjuk became again a stateless person in 2002 (until his death in 2012).[5][13][14] His deportation was again ordered in 2005, but after exhausting his appeals in 2008 he still remained in the United States, as no country would agree to accept him at that time. On 2 April 2009, Germany announced that Demjanjuk would be deported to Germany, where he would stand trial. On 11 May, Demjanjuk left his Cleveland home by ambulance, and was taken to the airport, where he was deported by plane, arriving in Germany the next morning.[15][16] On 13 July, he was formally charged with 27,900 counts of acting as an accessory to murder, one for each person who died at Sobibor during the time he was alleged to have served as a guard. On 30 November, Demjanjuk's trial began in Munich.[17]

On 12 May 2011, Demjanjuk was convicted pending appeal by an ordinary German criminal court as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor and sentenced to five years in prison. The interim conviction was later annulled, because Demjanjuk died before his appeal could be heard.[18][19][20][21][22] After the conviction, he was released pending trial and final verdict by the German Appellate Court. He lived at a German nursing home in Bad Feilnbach,[13] where he died on 17 March 2012.[23] Despite decades of legal wrangling and controversy, Demjanjuk died a free man and technically legally innocent until his appeal was heard.[24][25]


  • Background and Holocaust involvement 1
  • Trial in Israel 2
    • Israeli Supreme Court ruling 2.1
  • Charges and deportation 3
    • New court order 3.1
    • Deportation proceedings and actions 3.2
    • Motion to reopen the case 3.3
      • Sixth Circuit's stay 3.3.1
      • Sixth Circuit's stay lifted 3.3.2
      • Petition to Supreme Court 3.3.3
      • "Torture" as basis for reopening the case 3.3.4
      • Deportation to Germany 3.3.5
      • Demjanjuk deemed fit to stand trial 3.3.6
  • Displaced person claim 4
  • Trial in Germany 5
    • Criticism 5.1
    • Legal consequences for others 5.2
  • Death and posthumous appeal to restore US citizenship 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11
  • Further reading 12

Background and Holocaust involvement

Demjanjuk was born in Dubovi Makharyntsi,[26] Ukraine, a farming village, and grew up during the man-made famine called the Holodomor.[27] When Demjanjuk was convicted in 2011 his son claimed, in an email to Associated Press, "My dad is a survivor of the genocide famine in Ukraine. "[2] When interviewed in late December 2009, residents of Dubovi Makharyntsi declared that Demjanjuk got along well with the Jewish families living nearby.[28] Before joining the Soviet army, Demjanjuk worked as a tractor driver on a Soviet collective farm. In 1941, after Germany's attack on Soviet-occupied Poland, Demjanjuk was drafted into the Red Army. After a battle in Eastern Crimea he was captured and became a German prisoner of war (POW) and was moved to a Nazi German concentration camp for Soviet POWs. See: Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs.[29]

He survived the ordeal, and volunteered to be sent to the

  • Richard Rashke, Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America's Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals January 22, 2013, Delphinium Books

Further reading

External links

  • ISBN 9780575057951
  • ISBN 978-0895264589


  1. ^ Cleveland
  2. ^ a b "Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk dies aged 91" Daily Telegraph (17 March 2012)
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ "Former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk to be buried in the United States", Haaretz (22 March 2012)
  5. ^ a b "John Demjanjuk's body's burial site sparks fears of Nazi shrine in Cleveland suburb", Daily News (New York) (20 March 2012)
  6. ^ a b c "Convicted Nazi criminal Demjanjuk deemed innocent in Germany over technicality", Haaretz. Retrieved 23 March 2012, viz. statement by Munich state court spokeswoman Margarete Noetzel.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Wagenaar 1989.
  11. ^ Hedges, Chris (12 August 1993). "Israel Recommends that Demjanjuk Be Released". The New York Times
  12. ^ Chu, Henry (18 March 2012). "John Demjanjuk dies at 91; convicted Nazi death camp guard." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Demjanjuk Lands in Munich", Der Spiegel (5 December 2009)
  15. ^ Demjanjuk en route to Germany. United Press International. 11 May 2009
  16. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (12 May 2009) Accused Nazi Arrives in Munich. The New York Times
  17. ^
  18. ^ Aderet, Ofert. News Article. HAARETZ. Convicted Nazi criminal Demjanjuk deemed innocent in Germany over technicality.
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ McFadden Robert. News Article in New York Times. 17 March 2012. John Demjanjuk, 91, Dogged by Charges of Atrocities as Nazi Camp Guard, Dies.
  24. ^ Aderet, Ofer. Haartz Israeli News. News article 23 March 2012. Convicted Nazi criminal Demjanjuk deemed, innocent in Germany over technicality.
  25. ^ The Times of Israel. News article. Court rejects appeal for Demjanjuk citizens. 13 September 2012.
  26. ^ formerly Kiev Governorate, presently Koziatyn district, Vinnytsia Oblast
  27. ^ Raab, Scott. (19 March 2012). "John Demjanjuk: Things We Are Left to Tend to Think". Esquire. Retrieved 25 April 2012 from:
  28. ^ Anger simmers in Demjanjuk's home village, The Local (20 December 2009)
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b Rosenbach, Marcel (18 November 2008). Sixty Years Later, Alleged Nazi Guard May Stand Trial. Der Spiegel.
  31. ^ Case Study: Soviet Prisoners-of-War (POWs), 1941–42
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b c d e Semotuik, Andrij A. (21 March 2012) "In memory of John Demjanjuk". Kyiv Post
  34. ^ The Ukrainian Weekly, Sunday, 2 August 1987, "In 1975 Michael Hanusiak provided the INS with 73 names that he obtained from Soviet newspaper editors and archival sources while visiting the Soviet Union in 1974."
  35. ^ a b Lawrence Douglas (30 November 2009), "Ivan the Recumbent, or Demjanjuk in Munich:Enduring the "last great Nazi war-crimes trial", Harper's Magazine
  36. ^ John Demjanjuk, v. Joseph Petrovsky, et al. United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. – 776 F.2d 571
  37. ^ Israeli court sets Demjanjuk free. BBC News. 29 July 1993.
  38. ^ The Demjanjuk case John was in trial for accessory to murder charges. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 28 July 1993.
  39. ^ "My client isn’t Nazi criminal – man dubbed 'Satan’s lawyer' speaks out". Russian Television (RT), 30 November 2009, 14:08. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  40. ^ The case of John Demjanjuk, Sr. — Hon. James A. Traficant, Jr. (Extension of Remarks – 1 March 1991), James A. Traficant, Jr., in the House of Representatives, 28 February 1991 (p. E735)
  41. ^ United Press International (6 March 1987). "Demjanjuk Quoted: Guards Only Followed Orders". Los Angeles Times
  42. ^ Kudryashov 2004, p. 228.
  43. ^ a b The Demjanjuk Case: The Trial. Nizkor Project.
  44. ^ ISBN 9780575057951
  45. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. JOHN DEMJANJUK: PROSECUTION OF A NAZI COLLABORATOR. Retrieved 23 April 2012:
  46. ^ Sheftel, Yoram (1998). The Crimes of the Department of Justice Permanent Bureaucracy: Reckless Disregard for the Truth – The Case of John Demanjuk The Testimony of Yoram Sheftel. Printed in the American Almanac, 6 July 1998.
  47. ^ Broder, Jonathan (26 February 1987). "2nd Witness Call Demjanjuk 'Ivan the Terrible'. Chicago Tribune
  48. ^ Pyle, Christopher H. (2001). Extradition, Politics, and Human Rights. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-823-1; Chapter 19. Ivan Who? Getting the Wrong Man
  49. ^ Draaisma, Douwe (2012). Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older: How Memory Shapes our Past. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1107646261. Chapter 10, Trauma and Memory: The Demjanjuk Case.
  50. ^ Ewing, Charles Patrick & Joseph T. McCann. (2006). Minds on Trial: Great Cases in Law And Psychology. Oxford University Press. Chapter 10, John Demjanjuk: Is he "Ivan the Terrible"?
  51. ^ Israel 50, 1997; ISBN 965-474-005-2.
  52. ^ a b c d e f g Hedges, Chris (30 July 1993) Acquittal in Jerusalem; Israel Court Sets Demjanjuk Free, But He Is Now Without a Country. The New York Times
  53. ^ Williams, Daniel. (21 December 1991). "KGB Evidence Reopens the Case of 'Ivan the Terrible' : Holocaust: Recently released files bolster the appeal of the man convicted as a Nazi death camp monster". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 April 2012:
  54. ^ a b c d Beyer, Lisa; Johnson, Julie; Myers, Ken (2 August 1993). Ivan the Not-So-Terrible. Time.
  55. ^ Kudryashov 2004, p. 237.
  56. ^ Kudryashov 2004, p. 238.
  57. ^ Romerstein, Herbert. Disinformation as a Weapon in the Cold War. International Intelligence History Association. Journal of Intelligence History: Vol. 8, No. 2. Winter 2008 By
  58. ^ Pyle, Christopher H. Extradition (2001), Politics, and Human Rights. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-823-1, See Ch. 10: Extradition as a Substitute for Deportation: Getting Ivan.
  59. ^ Decision of Israel Supreme Court on petition concerning John (Ivan) Demjanjuk. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 18 August 1993
  60. ^ ISBN 9780575057951
  61. ^ Segev, Tom (2012). Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends. Schocken; Reprint edition, p. 349
  62. ^ Demjanjuk v. Petrovsky, 10 F.3d 338 (1993).
  63. ^ United States v. Demjajunk, No. C77-923 (N.D. Ohio; 20 February 1998).
  64. ^ John Demjanjuk:Timeline of his life, Cleveland Jewish News (22 March 2012)
  65. ^ USA v. Demjanjuk, No. 02-3529 (6th Cir. 30 April 2004).
  66. ^ Judge Orders Accused Camp Guard Deported, New York Times, (29 December 2005)
  67. ^ a b "US 'Nazi guard' faces deportation". BBC News. 22 December 2006.
  68. ^ a b "Accused Nazi guard Demjanjuk loses court appeal". Reuters, 19 May 2008.
  69. ^ Demjanjuk v. Mukasey, no. 07-10487, US Supreme Court, 19 May 2008 (certiorari denied).
  70. ^ "Germans seek 'Nazi guard' charges". BBC News. 11 November 2008.
  71. ^ "Germany seeks extradition of Nazi guard from US". The New York Times. 19 June 2008.
  72. ^
  73. ^ Rising, David (11 March 2009). Former Nazi camp guard charged 29,000 times. Associated Press.
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^ a b c Meyer, Cordula (1 May 2009). Demjanjuk Sues German Government. Der Spiegel.
  77. ^ Matussek, Karin (6 May 2009). Demjanjuk loses German court bid to block deportation. Bloomberg LP.
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^ Government 6th Circuit Brief.
  81. ^ a b
  82. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (5 February 1988). A Jew Who Beat Jews in a Nazi Camp Is Stripped of His Citizenship. The New York Times.
  83. ^ a b
  84. ^ a b c
  85. ^ a b
  86. ^ Demjanjuk v. Holder, Respondent's Opposition to Petitioner's Petition for Review and Motion for Stay of Removal, (6th Cir. 14 April 2009).
  87. ^ a b Demjanjuk is most wanted Nazi criminal. The Jerusalem Post. 21 April 2009.
  88. ^ Demjanjuk loses deportation case. BBC News. 1 May 2009
  89. ^ Stern, Andrew (1 May 2009). US court clears way for Demjanjuk removal. Reuters.
  90. ^ a b Court Order Denying Stay.
  91. ^ Supreme Court denies alleged Nazi guard's plea. MSNBC. 7 May 2009.
  92. ^ Meyer, Cordula (8 May 2009). Alleged Nazi Guard Demjanjuk Hits Legal Brick Wall. Der Spiegel.
  93. ^ a b c Frieden, Terry (23 April 2009). US says videos disprove Demjanjuk's claim of poor health. CNN.
  94. ^ The former Nazi camp guard supposedly 'too ill' to face court. Bild. 24 April 2009.
  95. ^ Hundreds of High School Students Petition Judge to Deport Demjanjuk. Yeshiva World News. 27 April 2009.
  96. ^ Fischer, Sebastian; Neumann, Conny; Meyer, Cordula (12 May 2009). Krankenwagen bringt Demjanjuk ins Untersuchungsgefängnis. Der Spiegel
  97. ^ Germany files charges against alleged Nazi guard Demjanjuk. Deutsche Welle. 13 July 2009.
  98. ^ a b Demjanjuk lawyer calls for case to be closed. Associated Press. 6 August 2009.
  99. ^
  100. ^ Houwink ten Cate, Johannes. 1 March 2012. Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. Looking Back on the Demjanjuk Trial in Munich*.
  101. ^ BBC. 17 March 2012. Obituary: John Demjanjuk.
  102. ^ Rosenbach, Marce and Jan Friedmann. 18 November 2008. Sixty Years Later, Alleged Nazi Guard May Stand Trial. Der Spiegel International.
  103. ^ Demjanjuk posed as a Nazi camp victim. The Australian. 22 April 2009.
  104. ^ "John Demjanjuk: The Last Nazi". Esquire, 11 August 2010.
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^ Statement of the ZDJ, 12 May 2009 (German)
  108. ^
  109. ^ Associated Press article in Haaretz Israeli News dated 18 February 2011. Witness in alleged Nazi Demjanjuk trial under investigation for murder.
  110. ^ a b
  111. ^
  112. ^
  113. ^
  114. ^ Associated Press article dated 10 May 2011 in Haaretz Israeli News Agency. Demjanjuk attorney disputes trial's legitimacy as verdict nears.
  115. ^ Nazi Criminal John Demjanjuk Dies Time 17 March 2012
  116. ^ Rising, David. Associated Press (13 May 2011). "Former US citizen convicted in Nazi camp deaths" Boston Globe
  117. ^ Feduschak, Natalia A. News article in Kyiv Post, dated 11 June 2011. Case of Mistaken Identity?
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^
  121. ^ Benari, Elad. Arutz Sheva. (13 May 2011). "Sheftel: Demjanjuk Verdict is a ‘Farce’". Israel National News
  122. ^ Newshound, Russia TV, Interview with Yoram Sheftel, Demjanjuk's Ex-Lawyer: No Evidence to Tie Demjanjuk to Holocaust, Part 2. Retrieved 23 April 2012 from:
  123. ^
  124. ^ ISBN 978-0981808611
  125. ^ a b 50 Alleged Auschwitz Guards Face Jail in Germany, RIA Novosti (6 April 2013)
  126. ^ "'Nazi guard' John Demjanjuk dies", BBC News
  127. ^
  128. ^
  129. ^
  130. ^ Associated Press news article. US court: No posthumous US citizenship for Demjanjuk, convicted in war crimes probe. 28 June 2012. Downloaded on 4 July 2012 from:
  131. ^ US v. Demjanjuk, no. 12-3114, (6th Cir. 28 June 2012)
  132. ^
  133. ^ Associated Press news article. Demjanjuk attorney files complaint against doctors. Published 13 June 2012. Downloaded on 4 July 2012 from:
  134. ^ Doctors Did Not Hasten Demjanjuk’s Death (November 27, 2012). archiveJewish Journal. Retrieved June 7, 2015.


  1. ^ More than 30 testimonies from Jewish ex-prisoners of the Treblinka Camp taken under oath in 1945 named Jan Rogozha as the Ukrainian guard who operated the engines. In 1954, four Ukrainian guards named the guard as Ivan Marchenko in their war crimes trial. In 1956 all four retracted their testimony claiming it was given under duress.
  2. ^ a b Demjanjuk did not, on his appeal, contest the Board's decision on its merits. His sole ground for appeal was that the Immigration Judge who had heard his case – Judge Creppy – was not an "immigration judge" within the meaning of the law and was therefore without jurisdiction to decide the case, thereby nullifying the proceeding. The Sixth Circuit found his argument to be without merit. Demjanjuk v. Mukasey, No. 07-3022 (6th Cir. 30 January 2008).
  3. ^ Case No. 09-3469. Companion case 09-3416, wherein Demjanjuk sought a stay prior to the BIA's denial of his motion to reopen the case on the merits, was dismissed as moot.
  4. ^ This sentence was a summary of the legal arguments on "torture" presented by Demjanjuk in his legal pleadings. See, e.g.., his Motion for Stay filed with the Sixth Circuit.
  5. ^ These public statements may be found in the news article citations herein.


See also

In early June 2012, Ulrich Busch, Demjanjuk's attorney, filed a complaint with Bavarian prosecutors claiming that the pain medication Novalgin (known in the US as metamizole or dipyrone) that had been administered to Demjanjuk helped lead to his death. Busch asked prosecutors to open an investigation of five doctors and a nurse on suspicion of manslaughter and causing bodily harm.[133] The investigation was closed in November 2012 after no evidence emerged to support the allegations.[134]

On 28 June 2012, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that Demjanjuk could not regain his citizenship posthumously. The three-judge panel said in its ruling that his death made the case moot, and that the appeal was without merit, given the court's 2004 decision that Demjanjuk's denaturalization should not be revoked.[130][131] On 11 September 2012, the court denied Demjanjuk's request to have the appeal reheard en banc by the full court.[132]

On 12 April 2012, Demjanjuk's attorney's filed an appeal to posthumously restore his US citizenship. The motion filed in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati alleged that the US government withheld a key FBI document that could have helped him in his bid to keep his citizenship. In 2011 the Associated Press had uncovered a secret 1985 FBI report which indicated that a Nazi ID card showing that Demjanjuk had served as a death camp guard was a Soviet-made fake. The bulk of the defense motion was in regard to the government withholding that document along with an ongoing pattern of withholding other exculpatory materials. The new suit claimed, however, that a matter does not rest on a singular document, but that “hundreds of files” recently declassified by a National Archives and Records Administration in Maryland could have aided Demjanjuk’s efforts to recover US citizenship.[129]

Following his death, his relatives requested that he be buried in the United States, where he used to live. Jewish organizations have opposed this, claiming that his burial site would become a centre for neo-Nazi activity.[3][127] On 31 March 2012, John Demjanjuk was reported to be buried at an undisclosed US location, now known to be the Ukrainian section of the Brooklyn Heights cemetery in Parma Ohio.[128]

John Demjanjuk died at a home for the elderly in Bad Feilnbach, Germany on 17 March 2012, aged 91.[126] As a consequence of his appeal not having been heard, Demjanuk's conviction of May 2011 by a lower court was invalidated; and he died without a criminal record.[6] Demjanjuk's lawyer, Dr. Ulrich Busch, had demanded that the Munich court publish a clarifying statement that Demjanjuk was presumed innocent and without a criminal record "Given the false statements in international media reports that Demjanjuk died a convicted war criminal".[6]

Death and posthumous appeal to restore US citizenship

On 6 April 2013 the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes announced it would charge 50 former guards at Auschwitz concentration camp with accessory to murder.[125] The investigation lacked direct witnesses, but the agency hoped that available written records would suffice in court, as was the case with Demjanjuk.[125] In April 2015, the trial of Oskar Gröning began.

Legal consequences for others

Congressman James Traficant championed the unpopular cause of Demjanjuk.[123] Michael Collins Piper claimed that Traficant was prosecuted and targeted by the Department of Justice for his defense.[124]

Yoram Sheftel, the lawyer who represented Demjanjuk during the Israel trial in the 1980s, criticized the German court for conducting a show trial. "There was a shameful farce here," he said. "Certainly the German court did not believe its own ruling." "Nothing has changed since then," he said. "Even during the trial in Germany, there was not one person who testified that Demjanjuk was Ivan from Sobibor, by virtue that he was seen there, and as such the conviction is a farce." Sheftel said he was convinced that the Israeli Supreme Court’s acquittal and ruling regarding Demjanjuks innocence was correct.[121] Sheftel said there was "no credible evidence to produce any crime against Demjanjuk to convict him on any charge connected to the Holocaust.".[122]

During the trial, Demjanjuk accused Germany of using him as a Ukrainians and the European neighbours of Nazi Germany".[33]

[120][119][33] Christiaan F. Rüter, Professor of Law and expert on NS trials in Germany, who researched the subject at the [118] The unique nature of the legal argument he was convicted under has been noted.


Demjanjuk's conviction was invalidated upon his death because the German Appellate Court had not tried the appeal, nor ruled on the validity of the legal precedent. According to German law, no conviction stands until all appeal rights have been exhausted. The court did not explain why the appeal hearings were delayed. As a consequence, Demjanjuk remains legally innocent.[33]

The feasibility of mistaken identity was bolstered when on 11 June 2011, the Kyiv Post reported that in his home village of Dubovye Makharintsy, Vinnycia Oblast of Ukraine, records show that two Ivan Demjanjuks served in the Soviet Red Army in WW II. Reportedly, one Ivan Andriyevych Demjanjuk committed suicide in 1971, after he learned that Soviet KGB agents had come to question him. According to a Red Army veteran and witness, in the early 1980s, the KGB came to Dubovi Makharyntsi and took all of John Demjanjuk’s family photos and letters he had written to his mother and sister, who remained in the village after the war.[117]

On 12 May 2011, aged 91, Demjanjuk was convicted as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews and sentenced to five years in prison.[19][20][21][22] Presiding Judge Ralph Alt ordered Demjanjuk released from custody pending his appeal. The judge suspended the remainder of the sentence, noting Demjanjuk had already served two years during trial, was 91 years old, and had served 8 years in Israel on related charges that were later overturned. Alt said there were no grounds to hold Demjanjuk. "It’s the law, and so it’s justice,’’ he added. "I say he’s guilty, but it’s not a final verdict.’’ Demjanjuk's interim conviction had the potential to set a new legal precedent in Germany, opening the possibility of hundreds of new investigations. This was the first time someone has been convicted solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of being involved in the death of any specific inmate.[115][116]

On 3 May 2012, Dr. Ulrich Busch, Demjanjuk's lawyer, claimed that documents and witness accounts from Trawniki on Demjanjuk differed so widely that there must have been about six different Demjanjuks.[114]

On 12 April 2011, a 1985 FBI report that had been marked secret for the previous 25 years was declassified and found by reporters of the Associated Press News Media in the National Archives. It brought to light a judgement that the Trawnicki ID card that had been provided by a Soviet source to the US was "quite likely fabricated" evidence.[113]

On 15 January 2011, Spain requested a European arrest warrant be issued for alleged Nazi war crimes while Demjanjuk was still on trial in Germany; specifically, it alleged that Demjanjuk was involved in the deaths of 60 Spaniards imprisoned at Flossenbürg while serving as a guard there.[111] Germany denied Spain's extradition request on 31 May 2011, citing jurisdictional concerns and insufficient evidence provided by Spanish authorities of Demjanjuk's involvement in the crimes alleged by them.[112]

On 24 February 2010, a star witness for the prosecution, Alex Nagorny, who agreed to serve the Nazi Germans after his capture, raised doubts about the case against Demjanjuk, telling the court the man on trial in Munich state court didn't look like his fellow guard at the Flossenbuerg camp. (There were three different former guards named Nagorny and it was not immediately clear whether the man who testified in the Demjanjuk trial was the same who allegedly served in Treblinka.[109] Nagorny told the Munich state court that he knew Demjanjuk from the Flossenbuerg camp. "We were brought there and Ivan was already there," the 92-year-old testified, referring to Demjanjuk by his birth name. "He was a guard there. He did the same thing I did. I did not know him before Flossenbuerg." Nagorny has previously told investigators he arrived at Flossenbuerg with Demjanjuk. Nagorny testified he lived with Demjanjuk in a barracks room in Flossenbuerg and then shared an apartment with him in Landshut, Germany, after the war. When asked to identify Demjanjuk in the courtroom, Nagorny could not. Nagorny walked over to the bed where Demjanjuk lay and looked at him closely. When Demjanjuk removed the sunglasses that he was wearing, Nagorny said quickly: "That's definitely not him – no resemblance."[110] Nagorny also cast doubt on the provenance of the Trawnicki card testifying that in the final days of the war the Trawniki guards destroyed their cards before being taken prisoner by the Americans.[110]

  1. Count Nikolai Tolstoy, a British historian, pointed out to Yoram Sheftel, the Israeli attorney who defended Demjanjuk in Israel, that there was an entire Soviet KGB division known as Division 14 that dealt solely with the forgery of documents. Sheftel indicated that the components of such cards, including pre-signed Nazi signatures, seized by Soviet troops were available to the Soviets to make up false papers.
  2. Dr. Grant, who Sheftel claimed was the world’s foremost forensic expert and the man who revealed the forgeries of the "Mussolini diaries" and the "Hitler diaries", testified in Israel that the Demjanjuk signature on the card differed from all the others attributed to him. Dr. Grant pointed out that there were two puncture holes in the right side of the photo on the card but not through the paper of the card. Judging by the purple ink found inside the holes which was similar to ink used by the KGB and the nature of the spacing of the holes, Dr. Grant concluded that the photograph was probably unstapled from some other Soviet document and attached to the ID card in the Soviet Union. Dr. Grant concluded his evidence by saying "The Trawniki document cannot be an authentic document belonging to the defendant Demjanjuk."
  3. Michael Shaked, the prosecutor in the Israeli case, indicated that on 23 January 1987 the original Trawniki card was provided for examination to the German police force’s main criminal-identification laboratory in Wiesbaden. The laboratory analysts indicated that even after a cursory examination it was evident that the document was a forgery. The picture was not originally attached to the card, but had been transferred from another document.

The so-called Trawniki ID card on which the German prosecutors case relied heavily was the same controversial card used previously as evidence by Israeli prosecutors. It was controversial for several reasons.[33]

[108] Some 35 plaintiffs were admitted to file in the case, including four survivors of the Sobibor concentration camp and 26 relatives of victims. The

On 30 November 2009, Demjanjuk's trial, expected to last for several months, began in Munich.[105] Demjanjuk arrived in the courtroom in a wheelchair pushed by a German police officer.[106]

Trial in Germany

According to Landshut office, therefore encouraged applicants to select places outside the Soviet Union. Sobibor was such a place. Sereny further relates that at Demjanjuk's trial in Israel on the Treblinka charges, Judge Dov Levin had asked Demjanjuk, "Why did you put Sobibor?" Demjanjuk had replied that he had no idea what to put on the form and that another applicant had had an atlas and told him to put down Sobibor as there had been many Soviets there. Evidence that Demjanjuk might have been at Sobibor rather than Treblinka contributed to his successful appeal against his conviction in Israel on the Treblinka charges. He was not prosecuted in Israel on any charges relating to Sobibor as, inter alia, his extradition from the US had been obtained on the basis of the Treblinka charges. An 11 August 2010, Esquire magazine article written and researched by Scott Raab questioned the whole idea of Demjanjuk's trial, crime, and punishment, pointing out many of the absurdities of this particular case, stating specifically "Worse, Demjanjuk is essentially on trial not for anything he did, but simply for being at Sobibor. No specific criminal acts need be alleged, much less proved. Page through transcripts of previous Nazi trials and you'll find a rigorous focus on particulars, because that is what should be required to convict a defendant. No one in any such trial ever was convicted simply on the basis of being present at the scene."[104]

in occupied Germany, most of whom were Ukrainian, but also Russian, Belarusian, Crimean Tatar, and others. Many of them, having experienced the brutal and genocidal policies of the Stalin regime, wanted to emigrate to the US or other western democracies rather than being forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union. OST-Arbeiter. After the war ended, there were millions of former forced laborers Operation Keelhaul. Many former Soviet POWs, and Soviets who fought against the Red Army were also motivated to conceal their Soviet origins to avoid being executed under secret Allied military operations such as Yalta Agreement and concentration camp inmates who found themselves as refugees were motivated to seek anonymity, create aliases and hide their Soviet Union origins to avoid forced repatriation to Stalinist Russia under the terms of the slave laborers and former Soviet POWs Many former [103]) stated that war criminals sometimes tried to escape justice after 1945 by presenting themselves victims of Nazi persecution, rather than as perpetrators.University of Giessen When interviewed in connection with the story, historian Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg ([102] Demjanjuk found a job as a driver in a displaced persons camp in the Bavarian city of Landshut, and was subsequently transferred to camps in other southern German cities until he ended up in the town of Feldafing near Munich in May 1951.[101] On 21 April 2009,

Displaced person claim

On 22 September 2009, the KGB".[99]

On 3 July 2009, prosecutors deemed Demjanjuk fit to stand trial. On 13 July 2009, prosecutors charged him with 27,900 counts of accessory to murder.[97] Doctors restricted the time Demjanjuk could be tried in court each day to two sessions of 90 minutes each, said Munich State Prosecutor Anton Winkler. Demjanjuk's attorney said that due to the complexity of the evidence, the mandated short sessions could cause the trial to last three to five years.[98] Due to this and what he called Demjanjuk's ill health, Demjanjuk's attorney called for the case to be closed.[98]

Demjanjuk deemed fit to stand trial

Demjanjuk was deported to Germany, leaving Cleveland, Ohio, on 11 May 2009, to arrive in Munich on 12 May. Upon his arrival, he was arrested and sent to Munich's Stadelheim prison.[96]

Deportation to Germany

While Demjanjuk was removed from his house in a wheelchair and appeared to be "slack-jawed and unmoving", on 23 April 2009, federal prosecutors submitted surveillance video evidence taken after the removal of Demjanjuk; the footage showed Demjanjuk walking with no assistance to a car in a parking lot while "alert and engaged in conversation."[93] They also provided the Court of Appeals with a medical report that supported their claim that Demjanjuk is medically fit to be moved to Germany; a flight surgeon who examined Demjanjuk while in government custody for alleged back pain later noticed that Demjanjuk "moved his back with apparent ease".[93] The government lawyers stated that even if the court lifts the stay, they would defer deportation until at least 1 May, to allow Demjanjuk time to file an appeal to the US Supreme Court.[93][94] On 23 April 2009, a group of students from the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the deportation order.[95]

Demjanjuk's motion to reopen was based on the claim that he would be tortured as a result of being deported. Demjanjuk claimed that, because he was old and sick, transferring him to Germany would constitute "torture" within the meaning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention), and that this circumstance was sufficient to reopen consideration of his case.[nb 4] His attorney, John Broadley, argued before the BIA that deporting Demjanjuk would constitute torture because of his health problems, including pre-leukemia, kidney problems, spinal problems and "a couple of types of gout."[84][85] To summarize the foregoing, his essential contention in his legal pleadings and public statements was, that it would be very hard on him, and perhaps life-threatening, to be taken away from his home in his present condition.[nb 5] He claimed that this circumstance would constitute "torture."

"Torture" as basis for reopening the case

On Tuesday, 5 May 2009, Demjanjuk announced through counsel that he was filing a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking review of the adverse decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that had denied his stay. His counsel expected the filing to be made on Wednesday, 6 May. The filing characterized the unanimous decision of the three-judge Sixth Circuit panel as "incomprehensible". On Thursday, 7 May 2009, the United States Supreme Court, via Justice John Paul Stevens, declined to consider Demjanjuk's case for review, thereby denying Demjanjuk any further stay of deportation. Justice Stevens issued his decision without comment.[91][92] Demjanjuk's counsel thereafter stated that his client would not seek to have the entire Court consider Justice Stevens' decision and that accordingly all legal avenues in the United States to halt the deportation had been exhausted.

Petition to Supreme Court

...the petitioner has not shown a strong or substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his challenge to... the [BIA's] denial of his motion to reopen. At most, he has offered speculation that German authorities may not adequately attend to his medical needs while he is in ... custody.[90]
However, the Court stated in its opinion denying the stay (in the process of addressing the question of the extent to which Demjanjuk was likely to succeed on the merits of his motion to reopen) that: [nb 3] Although the stay was lifted, and the government freed of legal constraints that prevented it from deporting Demjanjuk, his appeal for the substantive review of the BIA decision on the merits (wherein the BIA effectively upheld the deportation order itself, by refusing to reopen the case on the ground that "torture" in Germany was more likely than not) was still pending before the Court of Appeals.[90][89][76]The Court also ruled that it was unlikely that Demjanjuk could demonstrate that he would be "tortured" in Germany and that this claim did not sufficiently support his request for a stay.
Based on the medical information before the court and the government's representations about the conditions under which it will transport the petitioner, which include an aircraft equipped as a medical air ambulance and attendance by medical personnel, the court cannot find that the petitioner's removal to Germany is likely to cause irreparable harm sufficient to warrant a stay of removal.[88]
that it had imposed against Demjanjuk's deportation order. The Court stated in its opinion that: stayOn 1 May 2009, the Sixth Circuit lifted the

Sixth Circuit's stay lifted

On 14 April 2009, immigration agents removed Demjanjuk from his home in preparation for deportation.[84] The same day, Demjanjuk's son filed a motion in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit asking that the deportation be stayed,[84] which was subsequently granted.[85] The Government argued that the Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction to review the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals, which denied the stay.[86] Demjanjuk later won a last-minute stay of deportation, shortly after US immigration agents carried him from his home in a wheelchair to face trial in Germany. The BIA denied Demjanjuk's motion to reopen his deportation case. The Sixth Circuit, whose stay of the deportation order remained in effect, asked lawyers for both parties to provide it with more information from the government, physicians and Demjanjuk himself. On 20 April, the government filed a motion with the Sixth Circuit asking for the stay against deportation to be lifted, arguing that Demjanjuk had sought the stay in order to provide an opportunity for the BIA to rule upon his motion to reopen the deportation order. Since the BIA denied the motion, the government argued, the basis for the Sixth Circuit's stay was no longer valid, and the stay should accordingly be dismissed.[87] The Jerusalem Post also reported that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had declared Demjanjuk to be the most wanted Nazi war criminal on its list, displacing SS doctor Aribert Heim. According to a spokesman for the Center, the revised ranking was intended to reflect the importance attributed to the US efforts to deport Demjanjuk to Germany to stand trial.[87]

Sixth Circuit's stay

This attempt by a former guard at a death camp to cast himself as the victim is [..] nothing less than a grotesque debasement of the word "torture," a characterization that makes a mockery of the terrible suffering inflicted on genuine victims of torture at places like the Sobibor extermination center. Ironically, Petitioner's argument is advanced by one who has been confirmed by US to have contributed to the mass-asphyxiation of thousands of civilians at a human extermination center on behalf of a regime responsible for some of the largest-scale tortures and murders in history." —Rabbi Abraham Cooper [83]

The Government has responded to Demjanjuk's torture claim as a basis for reopening the deportation order – a case that was decided against Demjanjuk in 2005 and that has been thrice affirmed against him on appeal – by stating that his claim is "patently frivolous". Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance, wrote:[83]

Demjanjuk's motion to reopen argued that, under the circumstances, his deportation to Germany would constitute torture. His attorney stated that his health had deteriorated seriously in the last four years. Demjanjuk argued that his request was supported by the past actions of the very same Office of Special Investigations where in the Tannenbaum case the DOJ allowed another sick old man to remain in the United States who had admitted to mistreatment of prisoners in a Nazi camp.[82] On 10 April, the BIA found there was "little likelihood of success that [Demjanjuk's] pending motion to re-open the case will be granted", and accordingly denied his motion for a stay pending the disposition of his motion to reopen. This removed any obstacles to federal agents seizing him at any time for deportation to Germany.[81]

On 3 April 2009, US Immigration Judge Wayne Iskra temporarily stayed Demjanjuk's deportation,[78] but reversed himself three days later, on 6 April.[79] As the Government noted, a motion to reopen, such as Demjanjuk's, could only properly be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Washington, D.C., and not an immigration trial court. The issuance of the stay by the immigration trial court was therefore improper, as that court had no jurisdiction over the matter. Accordingly, Demjanjuk re-filed his motion to reopen, and for an attendant stay, with the BIA.[80][81]

On that same day – 2 April 2009 – Demjanjuk filed a motion in an immigration trial court in Virginia. The motion sought to reopen the matter of the removal order against him; that order of removal had been originally issued by an immigration court in 2005, had been upheld by the BIA on administrative appeal in late 2006,[67] and was further upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals;[nb 2] after these two appeals, the US Supreme Court had, as noted above, denied any review.[68] In connection with the motion to reopen, Demjanjuk also asked the immigration court to stay the removal order, pending the decision on whether or not to reopen the matter.

Motion to reopen the case

Demjanjuk sued Germany on 30 April 2009, to try to block the German government's agreement to accept Demjanjuk from the US.[76] His filing with the German Administrative Court in Berlin claimed that the procedure by which he was to be moved from the US to Germany was illegal, and asked the Court to suspend the declaration by the German government that allowed Demjanjuk to enter the country pursuant to US deportation, until a court determination is made.[76] The German Administrative Court rejected Demjanjuk's claim on 6 May; Demjanjuk's German attorney stated that he would appeal the decision.[77]

On 10 November 2008, German federal prosecutor Kurt Schrimm directed prosecutors to file in Munich for extradition, since Demjanjuk once lived there. On 9 December 2008, a German federal court declared that Demjanjuk could be tried for his alleged role in the Holocaust.[72] Some three months later, on 11 March 2009, Demjanjuk was charged with more than 29,000 counts of accessory to murder of Jewish prisoners at the Sobibor extermination camp.[73] The German foreign ministry announced on 2 April 2009 that Demjanjuk would be transferred to Germany the following week,[74] and would face trial beginning 30 November 2009.[75]

One month after the US Supreme Court's refusal to hear Demjanjuk's case, on 19 June 2008, Germany announced it would seek the extradition of Demjanjuk to Germany. The file on Demjanjuk was compiled by the special German office investigating Nazi crimes. Kurt Schrimm, who heads the office, said that investigators "have managed to obtain hundreds of documents and have also found a number of witnesses who spoke out against Demjanjuk". "For the first time we have even found lists of names of the people who Demjanjuk personally led into the gas chambers. We have no doubt that he is responsible for the death of over 29,000 Jews" at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp, he said. Kurt Schrimm said that Demjanjuk could be brought to Germany by the end of 2008; however, this did not occur[70][71]

Deportation proceedings and actions

On 22 December 2006, the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the deportation order.[67] On 30 January 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied Demjanjuk's request for review.[nb 2] On 19 May 2008, the US Supreme Court denied Demjanjuk's petition for certiorari, declining to hear his case against the deportation order.[68][69] The Supreme Court's denial of review meant that the order of removal was final; no other appeal was possible.

On 28 December 2005, an immigration judge ordered Demjanjuk deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine. In an attempt to avoid deportation, Demjanjuk sought protection under the United Nations Convention against Torture, claiming that he would be prosecuted and tortured if he were deported to Ukraine. Chief US Immigration Judge Michael Creppy ruled there was no evidence to substantiate Demjanjuk's claim that he would be mistreated if he were sent to Ukraine.[66]

New court order

On 20 February 1998, a Federal District Court judge, Paul Matia, ruled that Demjanjuk's citizenship could be restored. On 19 May 1999, the Justice Department filed a new civil complaint against Demjanjuk. No mention was made in the new complaint of the previous allegations that Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible. Instead, the complaint alleged that Demjanjuk served as a guard at the Sobibór and Majdanek camps in Poland under German occupation and at the Flossenburg camp in Germany. It additionally accused Demjanjuk of being a member of an SS-run unit that took part in capturing nearly two million Jews in the General Government of Poland. He was put on trial again in 2001. In February 2002 Judge Matia revoked Demjanjuk’s US citizenship.[64] On 21 February 2002, Judge Matia ruled that Demjanjuk had not produced any credible evidence of his whereabouts during the war and that the Justice Department had proved its case against him. On 30 April 2004, a three-judge panel of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Demjanjuk could be again stripped of his US citizenship because the Justice Department had presented "clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence" of Demjanjuk's service in Nazi death camps.[65] The United States Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal in November 2004.

Sobibor "Road to Heaven" in 2007

Charges and deportation

Demjanjuk was released to return to the United States. In 1993, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Demjanjuk was a victim of fraud on the court, as United States federal government trial lawyers with the Office of Special Investigations had recklessly failed to disclose evidence, and the extradition order previously granted was rescinded.[62] In a report submitted to the Sixth Circuit prior to the Israeli acquittal, federal judge Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr. concluded that American federal officials had erred in asserting that Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible, but that evidence instead pointed to Demjanjuk being a lesser SS agent.[54] After the Court of Appeals remanded the matter to Judge Wiseman, Judge Wiseman dismissed the denaturalization petition proceedings in 1998, effectively restoring Demjanjuk's citizenship.[63] Transcripts of Demjanjuk's 1988 trial, and the character of Demjanjuk himself, appear in Philip Roth's 1993 novel Operation Shylock.

Simon Wiesenthal, an iconic figure in Nazi hunting, first believed Demjanjuk was guilty, but after Demjanjuk's acquittal by the Israeli Supreme Cour said he too would have cleared him given the new evidence.[61]

Yoram Sheftel's 1994 book The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial became an immediate best-seller in Israel.[60] In reviewing many issues pertaining to the law, Sheftel revealed serious errors, deliberate fabrications, and "fraud on the court" perpetrated by the US Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations (OSI) lawyers in their prosecution of the Demjanjuk case.

After Demjanjuk's acquittal, the Israeli Attorney-General decided to release him rather than to pursue charges of committing crimes at Sobibor. Ten petitions against the decision were made to the Supreme Court. On 18 August 1993, the court rejected the petitions on the grounds that (1) the principle of double jeopardy would be infringed, (2) that new charges would be unreasonable given the seriousness of those of which he had been acquitted, (3) that conviction on the new charges would be unlikely, and (4) that Demjanjuk was extradited from the United States specifically to stand trial for offenses attributed to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and not for other alternative charges.[59]

During the trial, the prosecution argued that Demjanjuk should be tried for alleged crimes at Sobibor; however, Justice Aharon Barak was not convinced, stating "We know nothing about him at Sobibor.[58]"

The court judgment addressed evidence against Demjanjuk that was not included in his indictment. The judges agreed that Demjanjuk most likely served as a Nazi Wachmann (guard) in the Trawniki unit[52] and had been posted at Sobibor extermination camp and two other camps. Evidence to assist this claim included an identification card from Trawniki bearing Demjanjuk's picture and personal information[52] — allegedly found in the Soviet archives – in addition to German documents that mentioned Wachmann Demjanjuk and mentioned his date and place of birth. The 1949 statement of another Wachmann (Danilchenko), identified a Demjanjuk in passing as someone who allegedly served with him at Sobibor in 1944 (a year after the camp was razed) and noted he had been born the same year as himself (1923). In 1979, Danilchenko made another statement adding that Demjanjuk was allegedly three years older than himself and had been in Sobibor in 1943. None of Danilchenko's allegations were ever subjected to cross-examination. The alleged Trawniki certificate also implied that he served at Sobibor, as did the German orders of March 1943 posting the Trawniki unit to the area.[52]

The Israeli Supreme Court's 405-page ruling included the following: "The main issue of the indictment sheet filed against the appellant was his identification as Ivan the Terrible, an operator of the gas chambers in the extermination camp at Treblinka... By virtue of this gnawing [new evidence indicating mistaken identity]... we restrained ourselves from convicting the appellant of the horrors of Treblinka. Ivan Demjanjuk has been acquitted by us, because of doubt, of the terrible charges attributed to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka. This was the proper course for judges who cannot examine the heart and mind, but have only what their eyes see and read." They also added: "The facts proved the appellant's participation in the extermination process. The matter is closed – but not complete, the complete truth is not the prerogative of the human judge."[52]

[57] On 29 July 1993, a five-judge panel of the

Israeli Supreme Court ruling

On 18 April 1988, the court found Demjanjuk "unhesitatingly and with utter conviction" guilty of all charges and being Ivan the Terrible. One week later it sentenced him to death by hanging.[51] Demjanjuk was placed in solitary confinement during the appeals process.[52]

Demjanjuk testified during the trial that he was imprisoned in a camp in Chełm until 1944, when he was transferred to another camp in Austria, where he remained until he joined an anti-Soviet Ukrainian army group. At that time, Ukrainian military groups like the Russian Liberation Army (Vlasov Army) funded by the Nazi German government until the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies in 1945. Demjanjuk's memory regarding specifics of this period may have been impaired by severe trauma and malnutrition during his internment as a POW in Nazi concentration camps.[49] The reliability of witnesses' memory, e.g. confabulation, stress-impaired memory, memory errors and the psychology of witnesses' testimony, e.g. unconscious transference and mistaken identity, positive response bias, weapon focus effect, confirmation bias, were also key issues of expert testimony.[50]

One remarkable event involved a star witness for the prosecution, Eliyahu Rosenberg. Asked by the prosecution if he recognized Demjanjuk, Rosenberg asked that the defendant remove his glasses "so I can see his eyes." Rosenberg approached and peered closely at Demjanjuk's face. When Demjanjuk smiled and offered his hand, Rosenberg recoiled and shouted "Grozny!" meaning "Terrible" in Polish and Russian. "Ivan," Rosenberg said. "I say it unhesitatingly, without the slightest shadow of a doubt. It is Ivan from Treblinka, from the gas chambers, the man I am looking at now." "I saw his eyes, I saw those murderous eyes," Rosenberg told the court, glaring at Demjanjuk. Rosenberg then exclaimed directly to Demjanjuk: "How dare you put out your hand, murderer that you are!"[47] It was later revealed with great embarrassment for the prosecution that Eliyahu Rosenberg had previously testified in a 1947 deposition that “Ivan the Terrible” had been killed during a prisoner uprising.[48]

During the trial, he was again identified on the photo spread by Otto Horn, a former German SS guard at Treblinka.[43] This testimony became controversial later because it was discovered by Yoram Sheftel that on 14 November 1979, Otto Horn was interviewed by the newly created US Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The OSI showed him the picture of Demjanjuk, but at that time Horn failed to identify Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible, or even as a guard from Treblinka, or as anyone he ever knew in the SS forces. The OSI report regarding Otto Horn's failure to identify John Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible would have been exculpatory, but was withheld by the OSI.[46]

Other controversial evidence included Demjanjuk's tattoo. Demjanjuk admitted the scar under his armpit was a Waffen-SS tattoo, which he removed after the war, as did many soldiers to avoid summary execution by the Soviets. The tattoo was probably an SS blood group tattoo given to him when he joined the Russian Liberation Army. The blood group tattoo was applied by army medics and used by combat soldiers in Waffen-SS foreign volunteers and conscripts because they were likely to need blood or give transfusions. There is no evidence that POWs trained as police auxiliaries at Trawniki were require to receive such tattoos, although it was an option for those that volunteered.[45]

[44] On 5 March 1992, German weekly

Prosecutors based part of these allegations on an ID card referred to as the "Trawnicki card." This ID card was obtained from the USSR and provided to Israel by American industrialist [43]

The prosecution team consisted of State Attorney Yonah Blatman, Michael Shaked of the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, Dennis Goldman and Eli Gabay of the International Section of the State Attorney's Office and others. According to prosecutors, Demjanjuk had been recruited into the Soviet army in 1940, and he had fought until he was captured by German troops in Eastern Crimea in May 1942. He was then brought to a German prisoner of war camp in Chełm in July 1942. Prosecutors claimed that Demjanjuk volunteered to collaborate with the Germans and was sent to the camp at Trawniki, where he was trained to guard prisoners and was given a firearm, a uniform, and an ID card with his photograph. The principal allegation was that three former prisoners identified Demjanjuk as "Иван Грозный" (Ivan Grozny, Russian for "Ivan the Terrible") of Treblinka, who operated the diesel engines sending gas to the death chamber.[nb 1][40]

Demjanjuk was represented by Israeli trial lawyer Yoram Sheftel. One of the reasons why Yoram Sheftel defended Demjanjuk was that he was convinced he was not at Treblinka. The defense originally used testimony from other Ukrainian auxiliary police (such as Ignat Danielchenko) to place Demjanjuk in different camps (specifically Sobibor) to prove (and they did) that he was not at Treblinka, however halfway through the trial, Sheftel subtly moved away from this method, fearing future prosecution on other charges.[39] Gewalt is a German and Yiddish word which means violence or ‘use of force,’ and was cried out as a "cry of desperation," an expression of woe, alarm and a call for help. Most Trawniki-trained camp guards with the exception of Eastern-European Volksdeutsche did not know German. The Volksdeutsche who relayed the orders for them were predominantly from ethnic German colonies in Ukraine and Russia, or were taught German. John Demjanjuk had no response to gewalt and had no significant fluency in German.

Demjanjuk was deported to Israel on 28 February 1986.[37] His trial took place in the Jerusalem District Court between 26 November 1986 and 18 April 1988, before a special tribunal comprising Israeli Supreme Court Judge Dov Levin and Jerusalem District Court Judges Zvi Tal and Dalia Dorner.[38]

In October 1983, Israel issued an extradition request for Demjanjuk to stand trial on Israeli soil under the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law of 1950. Demjanjuk appealed his deportation with the case heard on 8 July 1985. During the appeal, the authenticity of the identity card was questioned when it was argued that the card's number, 1393, had been issued in June/July 1942 with the seal of SS Commissioner, Odilo Globocnik, who had in fact been dismissed from this post in March 1942 at which time his seal was destroyed. The three identity cards supplied by the KGB that the experts had used to compare their paper and ink with Demjanjuk's card to prove its authenticity were also disputed. Among other contentions such as graphic inconsistencies, the cards, all dated 1942, carried Waffen SS stamps despite their not taking control of the Trawniki until 1943. Two bore the signature of Corporal Teufel when he was at that time a Sergeant while the other card, which had been issued earlier in the year when Teufel was still a Corporal, had his rank listed as Sergeant. The cards were also signed by Captain Hermann Hoefle, who was actually a Major. The court ruled on this claim: the record before us lends no support to this very serious charge, and we reject it. Witnesses fully qualified to testify on the subject stated their opinions that the Trawniki documents were authentic. Even if this documentary evidence had been rejected, the eyewitness evidence alone was found sufficient. Since the district court did not rely on the "Trawniki card", its validity is not before the court. The appeal was dismissed on 31 October 1985.[36] The Trawniki card had later been authenticated in later trials.

Nazi ID card, a suspected forgery

Trial in Israel

In August 1977, the Justice Department submitted a request to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio that Demjanjuk's citizenship be revoked on the basis that he had allegedly concealed his involvement with Nazi death camps on his immigration application in 1951. The request followed a lengthy investigation by the INS after Demjanjuk was identified by five Holocaust survivors on a photo spread used in the investigation of Feodor Fedorenko, a Treblinka concentration camp guard. Fedorenko was later extradited to the USSR on his admission that he was such a guard and that he lied on his US immigration applications.

In 1975, Michael Hanusiak, editor of the Ukrainian News, presented a list of ethnic Ukrainians living in the United States suspected of collaborating with Germans in World War II to what was then the US Immigration and Naturalization Service; Demjanjuk's name was on that list.[33] Soviet newspapers and archives had provided the names during Hanusiak's visit to the Soviet Union in 1974.[34] Hanusiak also handed over a purported copy of a Nazi ID card issued to Demjanjuk at Trawniki.[35]

Demjanjuk, his wife and their child arrived in New York City aboard the USS General W. G. Haan on 9 February 1952.[30] On 14 November 1958, Demjanjuk became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He and his wife, whom he met in a displaced persons' camp, moved to Indiana with their daughter and then to the Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills, where Demjanjuk became a UAW diesel engine mechanic at the nearby Ford auto plant. Demjanjuk and his wife later had two more children.

[32], by 1942, there were about a million such volunteers from the USSR alone, many of whom opposed the oppressive Soviet regime, or the domination of the Soviet regime in their homelands.Wladyslaw Anders, in auxiliary non-combat paramilitary and civilian capacities. According to Allied general Lt. Gen. Hiwi. the German word for volunteer, and also as Hilfswilliger, literally one willing to help, often shortened to Freiwillige Such non-German volunteers that served in Germany's foreign legions were referred to by the German command as [31] Many Soviet prisoners of war volunteered to serve under the Nazi command in order to get out of the POW camps, where 2.8 million Soviet POWs died through starvation, exposure, and summary execution.[30]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.