• Germany edition
 
Demjanjuk speaks, calling trial 'torture'
Photo: DPA

Demjanjuk speaks, calling trial 'torture'

Published: 13 Apr 2010 17:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,532
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd