At 89, John Demjanjuk, alleged Nazi guard deportation halted

Posted By on April 15, 2009

John Demjanjuk deported

Having lived in the Cleveland area in the 1980s and 1990s and remembering this event, it is puzzling why it has taking so long to deport John Demjanjuk a resident in Seven Hills, Ohio. It is good that we continue to track down war criminals, particularly those taking part in running Nazi death camps, but find it frustrating that the wheels of justice move so slowly – both for the accused and those demanding justice. Years ago, his 1986 life sentence conviction was overturn and Mr. Demjanjuk was returned to the U.S. Then in 2001, he was tried again and convicted by another court. It seems that attempts to prosecute and deport were once again thwarted in 2005; interestingly Germany has finally agreed that he will face on charges of accessory to 29,000 counts of murder at the Sobibór and Majdanek camps in Poland and at the Flossenbürg camp in Germany and he was removed from his home in Seven Hills, Ohio by immigration agents on April 14th.

BUT … not so fast, the deportation was halted once again …

U.S. seizes Demjanjuk, but court halts deportation

Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:36pm

A U.S. appeals court halted the deportation of accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk on Tuesday and he was freed from custody just hours after immigration agents carried him out of his Ohio home to send him to Germany for trial.

Adolf Eichmann in 1933Besides the northeast Ohio connection, I’m just starting a book by  called Hunting Eichmann, which is a narrative of the pursuit and capture of Adolf Eichmann, told by author Neil Bascomb. It offers new information and interviews and along with never published Mossad surveillance photographs. Eichmann evaded the Allies when they stormed Berlin in the last days of WWII. He was  operational manager of the mass murder of Europe’s Jews and escaped to South America until he was tracked down. I suppose the book and Demjanjuk’s deportation are somewhat connected in my mind.


  • Rod W

    Perhaps they realized that it would be embarrassing if they hounded war criminals from the middle of the last century while announcing a general amnesty on all war criminals from the beginning of this century.

  • May 8, 2009

    Nazi suspect ordered to surrender

    A man wanted in Germany for Nazi war crimes has been ordered by US authorities to surrender to an immigration office for deportation.

    John Demjanjuk, who lives in Ohio, has been fighting deportation since March, when Germany filed charges against him.

    On Thursday, the US Supreme Court rejected a request by Mr Demjanjuk, 89, to intervene in the case.

    He denies accusations that he worked as a guard in the Sobibor Nazi death camp during World War II.

    He says he was captured by the Germans in his native Ukraine during the war and kept as a prisoner of war.

    Death sentence

    Mr Demjanjuk arrived in the US in 1952 as a refugee, settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked in the car industry.

    In 1988 he was sentenced to death in Israel for crimes against humanity after Holocaust survivors identified him as the notorious “Ivan the Terrible”, a guard at the Treblinka death camp.

    But Israel’s highest court later overturned his sentence, after documents from the former Soviet Union indicated that “Ivan the Terrible” had probably been a different man.

    Mr Demjanjuk returned to the US, but in 2002 had his US citizenship stripped because of his failure to disclose his work at Nazi camps when he first arrived as a refugee.

    In 2005, a US immigration judge ruled that he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.

    And in March 2009, German offiicals issued a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of being an accessory in the deaths of 29,000 Jews.

    Mr Demjanjuk’s family have been fighting the threat of deportation ever since, arguing that he is too frail to be moved.

    US federal agents briefly removed him from his home in April, but a stay of deportation was granted.

    A three-judge panel from the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio then ruled that the removal could go ahead, saying it was satisfied that Mr Demjanjuk would be provided with adequate care.

  • RichC

    The story continues as of 5:30 PM on Monday May 11, 2009:

    CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was taken from his home by ambulance Monday and driven to a U.S. immigration office as agents prepared to deport him to Germany.

    Flanked by a motorcade of several unmarked vehicles, the ambulance was waved down a ramp that leads to the basement of Cleveland’s downtown federal building. Security guards swung the gate closed at the bottom of the ramp as soon as the motorcade entered.

    The 89-year-old Demjanjuk is wanted on a Munich arrest warrant that accuses him of 29,000 counts of accessory to murder as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls said he did not immediately have any information on Demjanjuk’s status. Demjanjuk’s son and an attorney who represents Demjanjuk in the U.S. didn’t immediately return messages left by The Associated Press after the ambulance arrived.

    Demjanjuk (pronounced dem-YAHN’-yuk) denies Germany’s accusations. He says he was held by the Germans as a Soviet prisoner of war and was never a camp guard. Demjanjuk’s family also says he shouldn’t be deported, because he is in poor health and might not survive the trans-Atlantic journey.

    A German Justice Ministry spokesman, Ulrich Staudigl, said the retired autoworker was expected to be in Germany by Tuesday.

    Earlier Monday, his son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said an appeal in a U.S. court would go ahead even if his father isn’t in the country.

    “Given the history of this case and not a shred of evidence that he ever hurt one person let alone murdered anyone anywhere, this is inhuman even if the courts have said it is lawful,” Demjanjuk Jr. said.

    Demjanjuk was visited Monday morning by a daughter and two priests at his home in Seven Hills, a Cleveland suburb.

    After the ambulance arrived and pulled into the driveway, family members stood at the edge of the garage and held up a bedsheet to block the view of reporters and photographers across the street.

    U.S. immigration officials went to Demjanjuk’s home Friday to serve a government notice asking that he surrender. The move came one day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Demjanjuk’s appeal to stop his deportation.

    On Monday, a Berlin court rejected an appeal aimed at preventing deportation.

    Once in Germany, Demjanjuk will be brought before a judge and formally charged. He will also be given the opportunity to make a statement to the court, in keeping with normal justice procedure, Staudigl said.

    Demjanjuk is expected to be held in the medical unit of a Munich prison. The government has said preparations have been made at the facility to ensure he will receive appropriate care.

    Associated Press writers Melissa Eddy in Berlin and Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.