• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ex-Nazi guard deported to Germany for trial

AFP · 12 May 2009, 08:02

Published: 12 May 2009 08:02 GMT+02:00

Demjanjuk, 89, appeared to be crying as was carried from his house on a stretcher and driven away in a private ambulance past a small crowd which had gathered nearby.

He was boarded onto what sources said was a Munich-bound air ambulance flight which departed as the sun was setting over Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport at 7:13 pm (2313 GMT.)

Four agents took part in removing Demjanjuk from his home in an operation which was screened from public view by a large sheet.

His family said they would not be making any further statements Monday and US officials also declined to comment.

A German official said Demjanjuk was expected in Germany on Tuesday.

"We assume from what we know at the moment, that he will probably arrive in Germany tomorrow," justice ministry spokesman Ulrich Staubigl told AFP Monday morning.

Two priests were seen visiting Demjanjuk's home early Monday and several members of his family also came to say goodbye.

The deportation marked the end of months of legal wrangling and closes a chapter on a decades-long saga over Demjanjuk's war-time activities.

Arguing that the octogenarian is too ill to travel, his family sought to stay his deportation through a succession of appeals, culminating last week in a failed bid to the US Supreme Court.

His son expressed the family's frustration and disappointment in an e-mailed statement.

"Given the history of this case and not a shred of evidence that he ever hurt one person let alone murdered anyone anywhere, this is inhuman even if the courts have said it is lawful," John Demjanjuk Jr wrote Monday. "This is not justice, it is a vendetta in the falsified name of justice with the hope that somehow Germany will atone for its past."

A prominent Jewish organization welcomed the news.

"The long arm of American justice has successfully and righteously executed judgment against this heinous Nazi persecutor," World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder said in a statement. "The American Jewish community, and particularly those who survived the Holocaust, welcome the removal of this vile individual from our midst."

Equally jubilant was the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which noted that the prosecution of Demjanjuk "will probably be the last trial of a Nazi war criminal," said the group's founder Rabbi Marvin Hier. "His defenders say that at 89, he is too old to be deported. His 29,000 victims would have only wished that they would have been so fortunate to reach the age of 89," said Hier, whose group is devoted to fighting anti-Semitism around the world.

Born in Ukraine in 1920, Demjanjuk was a soldier in the Red Army when he was captured by the Nazis in the spring of 1942.

He was trained at Treblinka in Nazi-occupied Poland and served two years in the Sobibor and Majdanek camps, also in occupied Poland, and in Flossenburg in Bavaria, southern Germany, court filings showed.

Demjanjuk has always insisted that he was forced to work for the Nazis and had been mistaken by survivors for other cruel guards.

Story continues below…

He immigrated to the United States in 1952 with his family, settling in Ohio, where he found work in the auto industry and changed his name from Ivan to John.

Condemned to death in Israel in 1988 after he was convicted of being the sadistic Nazi guard nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible," the verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court because of doubts about his identity.

He was returned to the United States over strenuous objections from Holocaust survivors and Jewish groups, who argued there was sufficient evidence that he served as a death camp guard to warrant another trial.

Demjanjuk regained his US citizenship, which was first stripped in 1981, after an appeals court ruled in 1998 that the US government recklessly withheld exculpatory evidence.

The US government filed new charges a year later using fresh evidence that surfaced following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he was again stripped of his US citizenship in 2002.

Germany issued a warrant for Demjanjuk's arrest on March 11 on charges of assisting in the murder of 29,000 Jews at Sobibor.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Analysis
Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,511
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd