• Germany's news in English
 
Demjanjuk speaks, calling trial 'torture'
Photo: DPA

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
Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport
Photo: DPA

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport

Three men suspected of being Turkish agents have been arrested by police, federal prosecutors said on Thursday. READ  

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is having an excellent month. Photo: DPA

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November

Germany collected 7.3 percent more in tax in November 2014 than the same month last year thanks to the strengthening economy, the Finance Ministry said in its monthly report on Thursday, while pollsters found rising consumer confidence. READ  

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting
Bodo Ramelow looking low on energy at a sitting of the Thuringia state parliament. Photo: DPA

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting

Controversial new Thuringia minister-president Bodo Ramelow of the Left (Linke) party missed his first session of Germany's second house of parliament, the Bundesrat, to go on holiday with his family. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,201
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd