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John Demjanjuk, Guantanamo?

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John Demjanjuk’s Guantanamo

Ed. While GW Bush’s creation of Guantanamo violated all my senses about the rule of law, the need for something better than ordinary law to deal with war criminals is quite real.  Read this story of the agony of crimes and punishment over a half century after the end of WWII.

The story aught not to be about John Damanjuk.  It should be about his victims and the victims who are now suffering in Syria and Libya. Any American who thinks Guantanamo is a good answer needs to also read the story of Jeff Hall, an American Nazi killed by his own 10 year old son (below).

John Demjanjuk says he was a soviet soldier, captured early in WWII by the Germans. He was held prisoner until he joined a Nazi-backed unit of Russian soldiers .

Perhaps, but between March and September 1943, Demanjuk was  involved in the murders of tens of thousands of Jews at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in Poland. The most telling piece of evidence was an identity card Demanjuk claimed was a forgery.

John Demjanjuk's wartime ID, as provided by the US justice departmentAfter the war, Demjanjuk worked in Germany as a driver.  In 1952, he emigrated to  Cleveland, where he worked in  a car plant. and became a US citizen.

The citizenship was removed after a US judge ruled in 1981 that Demjanjuk had lied in his citizenship application about his wartime activities.

Neo Nazis protest. Click image to expand.

CLICKME for related story at SLATE. Members of the American National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi groupJeff Hall, a white supremacist leader in the Los Angeles area, was shot to death by his 10-year-old son on May 1. In an account of the neo-Nazi's life, the New York Times notes that Hall managed to win custody of the children from his ex-wife.

Demanjuk was deported to Israel in 1986 to face where he was tried as a camp guard nicknamed Ivan the Terrible at Treblinka.  Ivan/ John was convicted and sentenced to death.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, new evidence emerged. In 1993, the conviction was quashed  by Israel’s supreme court because another Ukrainian – Ivan Marchenko – had in fact been Ivan the Terrible.

Back in America with his citizenship restored, Mr Demjanjuk was a free man but until 2002. An  immigration judge ruled there was enough evidence to prove Demanjuk had been a guard at other Nazi camps.  US courts, after a lengthy process, ruled that Demajuk should be deported to his native Ukraine, Germany or Poland.

He was formally charged in Germany with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder of Jews at Sobibor.

 

 


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