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Demjanjuk speaks, calling trial 'torture'

AFP · 13 Apr 2010, 17:34

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.

Story continues below…

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.
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