Skip to comments.The Persecution of John Demjanjuk
Posted on 05/13/2011 6:51:36 AM PDT by Kaslin
"John Demjanjuk Guilty of Nazi Death Camp Murders," ran the headline on the BBC. The lede began:
"A German court has found John Demjanjuk guilty of helping to murder more than 28,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp in Poland."
Not until paragraph 17 does one find this jolting fact: "No evidence was produced that he committed a specific crime."
That is correct. No evidence was produced, no witness came forward to testify he ever saw Demjanjuk injure anyone. And the critical evidence that put Demjanjuk at Sobibor came -- from the KGB.
First was a KGB summary of an alleged interview with one Ignat Danilchenko, who claimed he was a guard at Sobibor and knew Demjanjuk. Second was the Soviet-supplied ID card from the Trawniki camp that trained guards.
There are major problems with both pieces of "evidence."
First, Danilchenko has been dead for a quarter of a century, no one in the West ever interviewed him, and Moscow stonewalled defense requests for access to the full Danilchenko file. His very existence raises a question.
How could a Red Army soldier who turned collaborator and Nazi camp guard survive Operation Keelhaul, which sent all Soviet POWs back to Joseph Stalin, where they were either murdered or sent to the Gulag?
As for the ID card from Trawniki, just last month there was unearthed at the National Archives in College Park, Md., a 1985 report from the Cleveland office of the FBI, which, after studying the card, concluded it was "quite likely" a KGB forgery.
"Justice is ill-served in the prosecution of an American citizen on evidence which is not only normally inadmissible in a court of law, but based on evidence and allegations quite likely fabricated by the KGB."
This FBI report, never made public, was done just as Demjanjuk was being deported to Israel to stand trial as "Ivan the Terrible," the murderer of Treblinka. In a sensational trial covered by the world's press, Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to hang.
But after five years on death row, new evidence turned up when the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia opened up. That evidence wholly validated the claims of Demjanjuk's defenders.
Not only had Demjanjuk never even been at Treblinka, the Soviet files contained a photograph of the real "Ivan" -- a larger and older man.
To its eternal credit, the Israeli Supreme Court reversed the conviction, rejected a request to retry Demjanjuk as a camp guard elsewhere in Poland, freed him and sent him home to America.
Exposed as a laughing stock, and denounced for fraud by Ohio district and appellate courts, the Office of Special Investigations began crafting a new case, John Demjanjuk of Sobibor, to deport and try again the old man whose defense attorneys had made fools of them.
Thus the Sobibor story and Demjanjuk's supposed complicity in the murder of 28,000 Jews -- though, as the BBC notes, no one testified at the trial that they ever saw John Demjanjuk injure anyone.
Consider the life this tormented American has lived.
Born in Ukraine in 1920, as a boy he endured the Holodomor -- the famine imposed on his people in 1932 and 1933 by Stalin and his hated henchman Lazar Kaganovich, which resulted in the starvation and death of somewhere between 5 million and 9 million Ukrainians.
It has been called by historians the "forgotten Holocaust."
Conscripted into the Red Army, Demjanjuk was captured in the German blitzkrieg. Unlike American and British POWs, whom Germans regarded as racial equals, Ukrainians were untermensch who could be used for medical experiments.
Not only did Demjanjuk survive, he managed to evade the Allied order, under Keelhaul, for all Red Army POWs to be repatriated to Stalin, which was the Soviet dictator's demand before he would return the U.S. and British POWs his troops liberated in the march to Berlin.
In the war's aftermath, Demjanjuk married his wife Vera, who had been conscripted in the Ukraine and brought forcibly west to work in the German economy.
Thence he moved to Cleveland, became an autoworker, raised a family and practiced his Christian faith. But he made a mistake.
He sent his wife to Ukraine to tell his aged mother that he had survived the war and was living in the great United States of America.
Word got around the village. The KGB came calling. Swiftly, the payments his mother had been receiving for her war hero son were halted, and suddenly, there turned up an ID card that said John Demjanjuk had been trained at Trawniki to be a Nazi camp guard.
The KGB began feeding OSI from its "files," as OSI began a manic persecution of Demjanjuk that has lasted 30 years.
Stalin died in bed in 1953. Kaganovich died with his family around him in Moscow in 1991. And John Demjanjuk, 91, after spending five years on death row for a crime he did not commit in a place he never was, is stateless and homeless in a Germany where veterans of the SS walk free.
That is justice -- in our world.
Sounds like it's time to get tough on all the other illegal aliens or fraudulent immigrants. Germany would seem to have room for all of them (if you get my drift).
I have never been comforable with this particular case. Something was never right with this...
This is an outrage. Jeez, this man is 91 years old. Dont you think it is time to bring him home?
I suspect that this is like the Duke non-assault, non-rape witch hunt. The defendant’s guilt or innocence became secondary to the symbolism of the case. This defendant’s problem is that he didn’t have well-to-do, well-connected parents who could afford lots of lawyers, publicists, and investigators.
Read Quiet Neighbors and see if you still feel the same way.
No you are correct, his citizenship was revoked. If anyone needed his citizenship revoked, it should be Soros
Thanks. I agree about Soros.
Amnesty for nazis, eh?
There was also NO proof that he had ever been to Treblinka. There is equally little proof that he was ever in Sobibor. What little ‘proof’ that they have is most likely manufactured.
The fact is that John Demjanjuk, guilty or not, should NEVER have been sent to of all places Germany to stand trial for crimes that of he committed, he was FORCED to com mit by the fathers and grandfathers of those who prosecuted him.
The Germans have a great deal of nerve prosecuting ANYBODY over war crimes! Especially an American citizen who suffered as a Ukrainian for the first thirty years of his life.
Oh, anyone paying attention to this Hitler loving revisionist history spewing LOON.
Buchanan is NOT the favorite ‘go to’ so called Conservative of the rabid leftwing media for no reason. Keeps the Jewish liberals ‘on the plantation’.
Demjanjuk is small potatoes, a very small cog in a very large killing machine. But he is also low-hanging fruit so the people who didn’t go after the bigger fish at the time seek to redeem themselves by going after a guy who most likely did what he had to do to survive.
False and false.
You don’t need to prove anything, what you do need is a preponderance of evidence and they DO have that.
Maybe you feel that eyewitness accounts are “nothing” I ,however, do not.
“The fact is that John Demjanjuk, guilty or not, should NEVER have been sent to of all places Germany to stand trial for crimes...”
Better there than Israel, they would have hung his a$$.
Nazi hunting machine could not fry innocent,
while Soros is doing his “humane” thing.
Way to go!
Instead of criticizing the author, because you don’t like him. Why don’t you discuss the article instead?
If they went after this man based on shaky evidence, they should go after George Soros.
Uhhh, they already tried him in Israel.
Did the guy have a rough life? Yeah. Was he a Nazi prison guard? Yeah. Was he an American - as Buchanan constantly says - briefly - he was stripped of his naturalized American citizenship status. Were there “bigger fish to fry” that went unfried - certainly.
But this IS a step in the right direction: “breaking legal ground that could pave the way for the prosecution of many low-level cogs in Hitler's machinery of destruction.”
The guy is still walking free. I cry no tears for Nazi Prison guards - even if they didn't want to be.
A man with a gun has a choice. Was he an unarmed guard?
Well, after all he’s old. He should be left in peace. He accidentally gave the wrong name on his citizenship application. The scar under his arm where the SS tattoo removed was really just a shaving scar. He was only following orders.
So I take it that everyone who ever served as a camp guard was eventually arrested and tried, regardless of whether or not they injured even one person?
Yes, in 1986 and he was convicted and sentenced to death.
The Ginsburg wing of the Israely Supreme Court cut him loose.
Bears repeating....Pat Buchanan piece.
They cut him loose because he wasn’t the guy they thought he was.
But why does Germany only care about going after war criminals that weren’t German, when there were so many former Nazis and SS men that were never pursued?
U r completely full of shite. Perhaps if you had a friend named the truth you could write an honest sentence.
There is no creditable evidence that this fellow was ever a nazi. Any evidence touched by the Soviet Union is suspect. Demjanjuk got it on the chin because the system could not find or would not go after the real nazis.
No, I am exactly correct that Buchanan is an apologist for the Nazis and favored by left wing Pundits to be on their shows because he is a HORRID FREAKSHOW that they want to put up as a typical Conservative.
Too bad for this guy he is not a muzzy. He would be given the Nobel right up there with Oscummy. Funny how the krauts are so concerned about Jews when they don’t actually give a crap about Isreal.
This old man was railroaded from the getgo. I saw it 20 yrs. ago.
I’ll ask my relatives who lived there during the war.
Oh, never mind I can’t they all went into the ovens.
A lot of Ukrainians were anti-semitic, there’s no question. Also many of them hated Stalin and Russians with a passion, and desired Ukrainian independence.
So it’s understandable that a Ukrainian might have favored the Nazis over the Soviets, did that necessarily make them Nazis? The Nazis still considered Ukrainians as untermenschen, along with the other Slavs, but they cynically tried to drive a wedge between Ukrainians and the Russians. Perhaps if ultimately given the chance, Demjanjuk would have fought in one of the various Ukrainian Nationalist Partisan groups that hated Soviets and Nazis with equal fervor.
All I’m saying is that the anger should be directed at those who were really responsible, the Germans and the Austrians.
Neither was I and he lived just up the road in Seven Hills. He was convicted before he even left his home here. And then to get only 5 years. I have no sympathy for any Nazi’s, but this was FUBAR. (He cannot re-enter this country.)
‘You dont need to prove anything, what you do need is a preponderance of evidence and they DO have that.’ WRONG!
You sound like a Democrat going after a Republican President. ‘The proof means nothing, it is the seriousness of the charges that are important!’
So now we remove peoples citizenship and their liberty with a PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE? We don't have to PROVE anything to strip someone of their inalienable rights? Nice interpretation of not only the law but also justice!
‘Maybe you feel that eyewitness accounts are nothing I ,however, do not.’ WRONG! Again!
I feel that eyewitness evidence that has been proved wrong is useless and meaningless. They PROVED beyond doubt that the eyewitnesses in his case in Israel where WRONG and they had the wrong guy.
Eyewitness evidence is the LEAST reliable evidence because of the differences in peoples perception and memories. There where lots of people who swore that it was him, John Demjanjuk at Treblinka. Yet, they where all wrong. Actual physical evidence Proved he could not have been the ‘Ivan The Terrible’ of the death camp.
The case in Germany had NO eyewitness evidence heard in court about Demjanjuk doing anything wrong.
‘Better there than Israel, they would have hung his a$$.’
The Trifecta Of WRONG!
Demjanjuk WAS tried in Israel and convicted on bogus evidence provided by the Soviet Union and eyewitness testimony. he was convicted of being a death camp guard known as ‘Ivan the Terrible’ in Treblinka. The decision was later reversed by the Israeli Supreme Court and he was sent home.
The fall of the Soviet Union opened up records that showed that Demjanjuk was not only NOT Ivan the Terrible, but COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE HIM. Only after he was completely exonerated did the fantasy of his being at another camp was hatched by the same organization that was so certain he was Ivan in Treblinka.
My statement remains absolutely correct. Germany has allot of nerve charging ANYBODY with NAZI war crimes. Particularly someone who if actually a guard was FORCED by the point of a gun to do what they say he did. They should be ashamed of themselves. Virtually the entire country of Germany was complicit in the murder of millions of people Jew and Non Jew alike. No matter how many Phony trials that they hold of low level foreigners they FORCED to participate in their crimes, they can not wash away THEIR sins.
It is nice to see how cavalier you can be about other peoples liberty, I hope you mention this in the event you are ever chosen for jury duty. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard for criminal cases.
“Better there than Israel, they would have hung his a$$.”
Umm... they already tried him in Israel, and the conviction was overturned and he was released. Israel declined to prosecute him again based on the remaining evidence. That doesn’t make me very confident that there is a “preponderance of evidence” in this case.
Mumia Abu-Jamal has been on Death Row since December 9, 1981.
You see, he’s not guilty âcus Ed Asner said so. Mumia is a Hollywood celebrity. He gunned down policeman Daniel Faulkner without a doubt. His wife Maureen has been villified in the press, it’s awful.
I could see why the Nazi Hunters would be so driven in the aftermath of WWII. It's also probable that mistakes could made, with no regard as to wrote this article. When the mob of people is calling for your head, history knows that the mob usually gets what they want. I've never read all of the documents pertaining to the person of question. We have to careful to not let justice turn into a witch hunt however.
“You sound like a Democrat”
Them’s fightin words Sparky!
this, something's wrong with your ears.
Or you can get raw with these strings. Either way, the violin is sweet yet lethal.
“Better there than Israel, they would have hung his a$$.”
I hope you are kidding, or you are just really, really stupid (Israel already convicted him of being someone else - and then was proven wrong):
1983: Israel requests his extradition to stand trial on war-crimes charges.
1986: Demjanjuk is extradited to Israel.
1987: Trial begins. It lasts into the next year.
1988: A three-judge panel rules his alibi that he was a prisoner of war throughout most of World War II is not credible enough to rebut survivors’ testimony. He is sentenced to death, but appeals.
1991: Demjanjuk’s appeal is still going when the Soviet Union collapses. Changes there allow his lawyers to produce testimony from 37 Treblinka guards and prisoners who identify a man named Ivan Marczenko as “Ivan the Terrible.”
1999: The U.S. government accuses Demjanjuk of being a guard at three concentration camps.
1992: Israeli Supreme Court hears final arguments on the appeal. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati reopens Demjanjuk’s extradition case.
1993: Israeli Supreme Court overturns the conviction.
I’m sorry you are right. That too harsh.
Cut Buchanan some slack - he lost an uncle in the concentration camps.
Poor guy fell off of his guard tower...
Oh Please....This was a POW who was FORCED INTO SERVICE BY THE NAZI’S!! As far as I know, he did not kill anyone.
He donned the nazi uniform, which you can claim, evidently, that you would have worn too.
THE MAN EITHER HAD TO GO BACK AND BE SHOT OR LIVE ANOTHER DAY UNDER TERRIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES.
How easy it had been for Demjanjuk. Your own wording seems to justify it. Would it have been as easy for you?
I´ve given my answer.
Buchanan engages in revisionist history because he never met an anti-Semite he didn't admire.