• Germany's news in English
 

Demjanjuk speaks, calling trial 'torture'

Published: 13 Apr 2010 17:34 GMT+02:00

Demjanjuk said he was "forcibly deported to Germany" where "false charges" were pressed on him, in a statement read out to a court in Munich by his lawyer, Ulrich Busch, and obtained by AFP.

"I find it an unbearable injustice that Germany is trying to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal with this trial," the statement said. "I am grateful to my medical staff who have helped to reduce the worst pain and allowed me to get through this trial which I feel is torture," said the native Ukrainian, who has lain motionless on a stretcher for most of the trial.

Demjanjuk's family say he is suffering from a litany of health complaints and will likely not survive the trial.

Doctors have judged him fit to stand trial but limited the time he is in court. Several sessions have been postponed after Demjanjuk complained of pain or dizziness.

Demjanjuk is accused of spending six months in 1943 at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, pushing thousands of Jews into gas chambers. He has always denied the charges.

He was previously found guilty in Israel of being "Ivan the Terrible," a particularly sadistic death camp guard at Treblinka, but released after the Israeli Supreme Court established they had the wrong man.

In his statement, Demjanjuk said he had been "falsely prosecuted" for the past 30 years in Israel, in Germany and in the United States, where he lived before being deported to the southern city of Munich to stand trial.

"Germany is to blame for the fact that I have lost my whole reason for living, my family, my happiness, and any future or hope," he said. "Now, at the end of my life, I am going through the 30th or 40th trial dealing with the same issue and I no longer have the strength to resist ... Germany is to blame for the fact that I have led a miserable life."

Your comments about this article

19:31 April 13, 2010 by dbert4
Let the old man go home to die in peace. Let's use the courts time to pursue those who commit todays war crimes, which are crimes against Palestinians
23:45 April 13, 2010 by Jibzy
^^Agreed. Why is the suffering of the Palestinians being ignored ?
00:45 April 14, 2010 by wxman
I've contended all along that this man was railroaded. He was a Ukraine conscript near the end of the war, and I'm not convinced he wasn't threatened with the well fair of his family. Even still, as a private in the SS, I'm not sure his duties entailed anything more profound than guarding the gate to this awful place, with of course German SS in guard towers with their guns trained on him to ensure he did "his duty".
03:03 April 14, 2010 by wenddiver
@wxman- Totally agree, what decisions does a private make?

I support Israel, and if the Jews say cut the guy loose, what is the rest of the worlds problem. The Israeli court system got a lot of street credibility, when hey cut him loose.
04:47 April 14, 2010 by janreg58
Germans need to stop feeling that they owe the Jewish people for what happened in WW2. The past is the past. They should of stood their grounds and protect those like Mr. Demjamjuk, instead of bowing down to the US and Israel. Be proud of your country again and stand tall, it's time!
08:11 April 14, 2010 by The-ex-pat
When Israel found him not guilty, why are America and Germany saying otherwise. Something is not kosher here.
10:41 April 14, 2010 by Portnoy
Israel DID NOT find him not guilty. They decided he was not Ivan the Terrible. He, as well as his victims, deserve their day in court. If he knew he was innocent, he could have come back and put this all behind him a long, long time ago.
13:29 April 14, 2010 by Beynch
There are simply too many unanswered questions to allow this sham trial to go forward. In the interest of justice for this 90-year old, drop it! Now!
13:55 April 14, 2010 by Prufrock2010
It's just another liberal conspiracy, Beynch.
16:39 April 14, 2010 by Hebbellover
@ dbert4, is this the kind of innovation you spoke of? Wow, another period of my germany to be proud of...Not!
04:36 April 15, 2010 by janreg58
Hebbellover, if Germany would of stood her ground and said "No more witch hunts, the war is over!" to the Jewish community, this wouldn't be happening. But they didn't want to be accused of hiding a war criminal. What do you do when your backs against the wall?
13:26 April 15, 2010 by dbert4
@janreg58&Hebbellover - Travesty of justice brought to the world by the US Justice Department, Office of Special Investigations.
19:52 April 15, 2010 by snorge
"future of hope" he says? How much time does this guy think he has left?
00:53 April 16, 2010 by wxman
Doesn't matter. He's entitle to every free breath he has.
04:59 April 17, 2010 by Der Erfinder
According to Ahmadinejad and Chavez the 27,900 Jews died of old age. If Isreal released him, that should be the end of it. Israel is famous for the depth and tenacity of their investigatons. There is no way they would have freed him if there was any evidence proving otherwise. In the U.S. there are laws against double jeopardy, why aren't they protecting him? Our brain-dead Attorney General wants to give the rights of our citizens to terrorists, but will deny those selfsame rights to a citizen.

This is a mixture of misplaced German guilt and American judicial stupidity.
06:22 April 21, 2010 by kamioner
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty
Photo: DPA

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government tricked the public into believing the USA was prepared to sign a so-called 'no-spy agreement' with Germany ahead of elections in 2013, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed on Wednesday. READ  

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman
Photo: DPA

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman

Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women for the fifth straight year but Hillary Clinton is snapping at her heels, the magazine said on Tuesday. READ  

German public shop with renewed confidence
People throng the halls of the Milaneo shopping centre in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

German public shop with renewed confidence

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest in 13.5 years, as the positive economic outlook and low inflation persuade consumers to open their purses, a poll found on Wednesday. READ  

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7
File photo: DPA

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7

German authorities have reintroduced border controls two weeks before the leaders of the G7 economies gather in Elmau, southern Bavaria. READ  

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions
Photo: DPA file photo

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions

Schleswig Holstein's exports to Russia have dropped by 31 percent, state finance minister Reinhard Meyer said in comments reported by the Hamburger Abendblatt on Tuesday. READ  

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

German twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law
Blocks of flats in the Berlin district of Wedding. Photo: DPA

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law

Berlin is to be the only state in Germany to introduce rent controls immediately after the law allowing them comes into effect on June 1st. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,641
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd