PROSECUTORS in Germany have taken the first steps to extradite the man known as Ivan the Terrible from the US.
They want 88-year-old John Demjanjuk to stand trial for his alleged wartime role herding prisoners into gas chambers in Poland.
Demjanjuk is said to have beaten, whipped and sliced off the breasts of naked victims as they ran to their deaths at the Treblinka camp, near Warsaw.
The Ukrainian was sentenced to death by an Israeli court in 1988 but freed after his conviction was overturned five years later.[W.Z. In this article, Allan Hall has concocted a masterpiece of disinformation and innuendo. In the first five paragraphs, he conjures up "emotive" words like Ivan the Terrible, herding prisoners, gas chambers, whipped, sliced off breasts, deaths, Treblinka, Nazi war criminals, as if the Israeli Supreme Court had not concluded beyond all reasonable doubt that John Demjanjuk had never been in Treblinka and, therefore, could not possibly have participated in any of the crimes attributed to him there.
Now Demjanjuk -- second on a list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals -- could face another trial in Germany.
Kurt Schrimm, Germany's chief Nazi prosecutor, said: "We believe he could be convicted by German criminal law."
The Ludwigsburg-based Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, which Schrimm heads, is in the process of applying to Germany's federal court of justice to have Demjanjuk extradited from the US.
Germany's highest criminal court will then decide if the case can be tried. According to Schrimm, the chances of German prosecutors succeeding in bringing Demjankuk to court are "good".
Schrimm said prosecutors could make use of an exception in German law.
Normally the justice system can only prosecute someone if the criminal is German or the crime was committed in the country.
But in this case, Schrimm said, "a large number of the victims came from Germany and Demjanjuk was acting on German orders".
If Demjankuk is brought to justice in Germany, it could have far-reaching consequences for the prosecution of other Nazi war criminals. Schrimm said: "There are many other people who, like Demjanjuk, don't come from Germany but who could be held accountable under German law."
Demjanjuk emigrated to the US in 1952.
He was deported to Israel in 1986 to face charges that he ran the gas chamber at Treblinka, where about a million Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were murdered.
Only 40 people survived Treblinka, which was destroyed in 1943 to be replaced by the more efficient death factory of Auschwitz, also in Poland.
The charges arose after five survivors testified Demjanjuk was the man in a photo of an SS guard known as Ivan the Terrible.
[W.Z. The last three paragraphs revert to Allan Hall's theme of connecting Mr. Demjanjuk to Treblinka and his farcical Jerusalem show trial in 1987/88. It is perfectly clear that the five so-called "survivors" -- Pinchas Epstein, Eliyahu Rosenberg, Yosef Czarny, Gustav Boraks, Chil Rajchman -- who "identified" Mr. Demjanjuk, either deliberately lied or were conditioned to make the "appropriate" identification by the Israeli prosecution. The book by Willem Wagenaar, "Identifying Ivan: A Case Study in Legal Psychology" describes the identification procedures utilized by the prosecution to "condition" the eyewitnesses.
Aside from these five false identifications in Jerusalem, is Kurt Schrimm, Germany's chief Nazi prosecutor, aware that not a single eyewitness has ever been found that has identified Mr. Demjanjuk as being present in any German camp during WWII?]