cnn.com | 10Apr2009 | Terry Frieden (Good Friday)
Nazi suspect's deportation appeal
- Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk loses an appeal to avoid
- German authorities seek him for alleged involvement in Nazi
- The retired autoworker denies all allegations
- Demjanjuk, 89, lives with his wife in Cleveland, Ohio
(CNN) -- A federal immigration board rejected an emergency appeal
Friday for a stay of deportation filed by the lawyer for Nazi war
crimes suspect John Demjanjuk.
The decision by the Department of Justice's Board of Immigration
Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia, clears the way for Demjanjuk's
deportation to Germany, where he is being sought for his alleged
involvement during World War II in killings at Sobibor, a Nazi death
camp in Poland.
The deportation of Demjanjuk would close a chapter in one of the
longest-running pursuits of an alleged Holocaust perpetrator in
history, while also paving the way for an extraordinary German war
Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are now free to pick up
Demjanjuk at any point and take him into custody for transport to
Germany, a board official said.
The appeals board rejected Demjanjuk's emergency stay request because
it concluded "there is little likelihood of success that his pending
motion to re-open the case will be granted," according to board
The pending motion argues that a deportation of Demjanjuk, 89, to
Germany would constitute torture.
"In the four years since his deportation was [initially] ordered, his
health has seriously deteriorated," Demjanjuk's attorney, John
Broadley, told CNN in a recent telephone interview.
Broadley said Demjanjuk suffers from pre-leukemia, kidney problems,
spinal problems and "a couple of types of gout."
The board, however, has already signaled that argument will be rejected.
Demjanjuk may make an additional expedited appeal for an emergency stay
to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, though his chances of getting
the board's ruling overturned are believed to be slim, according to
Justice Department officials.
Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center found irony in
Broadley's argument for his client.
Marvin Hier appeared on Larry King in the 1980s to say Demjanjuk
was Ivan the Terrible. When Mr. Demjanjuk was exonerated by the Israeli
Supreme Court on 29Jul1993, he continued to demonize Mr. Demjanjuk
insisting that he must be guilty of something.]
"He wants to plead the sense of fairness that he regularly denied all
of the victims at Sobibor," Hier said.
Hier called Demjanjuk's comparison of his planned deportation to
torture "preposterous coming from a person that served the [Nazi
organization] S.S. in a death camp. It is a preposterous argument and
insulting to the survivors of the Holocaust."
Hier said that 250,000 Jews were killed at the camp, and that none of
the guards who worked there was blameless. "You were there for one job:
kill the Jews," he said. "And that's what they did full-time."
He called the evidence against Demjanjuk "overwhelming."
[W.Z. Is Mr. Hier privy to the evidence being prepared by the German prosecution? Or is he relying on all the old accusations?]
German authorities issued an arrest warrant for Demjanjuk on March 10, 2009
accusing him of being an accessory to 29,000 counts of murder as a
guard at the death camp from March to September 1943.
They studied an identification card provided by the U.S. Office of
Special Investigations, and concluded it was genuine, before issuing
Presumably, this is the infamous Trawniki ID card which German
authorities labeled as a crude forgery just prior to the Jerusalem Show
Trial in 1987-1988.Why is the OSI in possession of this card? Should it
not have been returned to the Soviet Union in 1988?]
Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker living in Cleveland, Ohio, has been
fighting charges of Nazi war crimes for more than two decades. He was
previously extradited from the United States to Israel, where he was
convicted in 1986 [April 1988] of being "Ivan the Terrible," a guard at the
notorious Treblinka extermination camp. The conviction was overturned
by Israeli courts on appeal, and he returned to the United States.
The United States filed new charges against him in 1999, again alleging
that he had been a concentration camp guard. He was stripped of U.S.
citizenship and has been awaiting deportation since 2005, despite
fighting his case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, says he fought in the Soviet army and later was
a prisoner of war held by the Germans.