Ohio - Accused Nazi Guard Demjanjuk to Be Sent to Germany
Ohio - John Demjanjuk, who Munich prosecutors are investigating over his role as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp, is scheduled to be extradited to Germany from the U.S. on April 5, his lawyer said.
Demjanjuk, who lives in Ohio and was stripped of his U.S. citizenship, will be put on a plane on April 5 and arrive in Munich the following morning, Guenther Maull, his court- appointed attorney.
“Prosecutors seem to plan to charge him saying he must have participated because he was there and it can’t have been any other way,” said Maull. “I don’t think that argument would stand the test of the law.”
German prosecutors are investigating Demjanjuk, 88, on charges he participated in the murder of 29,000 Jews in the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland. Demjanjuk is likely to be charged with accessory to murder after the probe, the prosecutors said March 11.
Anton Winkler, spokesman for the Munich prosecutors, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Ulrich Staudigl, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry in Berlin, declined to comment.
Demjanjuk, who gained U.S. citizenship in 1958, was extradited to Israel in 1986 to face charges he was the sadistic SS guard known as “Ivan the Terrible,” who tortured Jewish prisoners while herding them into gas chambers at the Treblinka extermination camp in German-occupied Poland. His 1988 conviction and death sentence were overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court in 1993 and Demjanjuk returned to the U.S.
German investigators reviewed an identification card they obtained from the U.S. Office of Special Investigations and concluded it was authentic. Demjanjuk served in Sobibor from March to September 1943, according to Munich prosecutors.
A native of what is now Ukraine, Demjanjuk has denied ever serving the Nazis and said his fear of being sent back to the Soviet Union prompted him to falsely assert on his U.S. visa application that was a farmer in Poland during the war.
Germany’s Central Unit For the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, based in Ludwigsburg, had probed Demjanjuk for several years and suggested he should be charged.
The Federal Court of Justice, the country’s top criminal court, in December instructed the Munich Regional Court to take over the case because Demjanjuk had lived in various Bavarian cities between 1945 and 1951.
An estimated 6 million Jews as well as resistance fighters, gypsies and homosexuals were killed in Nazi death camps across Europe in territories occupied by Germany during the war.
Germany lifted its statute of limitations for murder in 1979, allowing prosecution of Nazi criminals in its courts to continue. Murder and genocide are the only crimes under German law with no applicable statute of limitations, which bar prosecution after a certain period of time.
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