Kyiv Post | 22Feb2011 | Associated Press
threatens hunger strike
MUNICH (AP) -- John Demjanjuk told a
Munich state court Tuesday [22Feb2011] he would go on hunger strike
pursue more evidence which he claims could exonerate him of charges he
served as a Nazi death camp guard.
A verdict in Demjanjuk's trial is expected as early as March. The
Ukrainian-born former Ohio autoworker accused the panel of judges who
have heard the case over the last 15 months of turning "a blind eye to
justice" by repeatedly rejecting defense motions for more documents.
"Germany, the nation which murdered with merciless cruelty millions of
innocent people, attempts to extinguish my dignity, my soul, my spirit,
and indeed my life with a political show trial, seeking to blame me, a
Ukrainian peasant, for the crimes committed by Germans in World War
II," he said in a statement read to the court by his attorney, Ulrich
The judges showed little reaction after the statement was read in full,
only asking Demjanjuk whether the words were his own, to which he
Demjanjuk, 90, is accused of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for
allegedly having been a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied
The prosecution argues that after Demjanjuk, a Soviet Red Army soldier,
was captured by the Germans in 1942, he agreed to serve under the SS as
Demjanjuk denies ever serving as a guard. He says he spent most of the
rest of the war after being captured in Nazi camps for prisoners of war
before joining the so-called Vlasov Army of anti-communist Soviet POWs
and others. That army was formed to fight with the Germans against the
encroaching Soviets in the final months of the war.
Demjanjuk entered court Tuesday holding a sign reading "1627" -- the
number of a 1,400-page Soviet investigative file on his alleged wartime
activities -- that the defense has asked the court to try and obtain
from Moscow several times.
Busch has argued that the file could contain documents which could
prove that a Sobibor identity card attributed to Demjanjuk actually was
that of another guard.
The court has rejected the request for the files, saying it is simply a
defense "hypothesis" that there could be details on the identity card
According to a letter from Ukrainian authorities to the American
Embassy in Kiev from 2001, obtained by The Associated Press, the
investigation of Demjanjuk documented in file "1627" was carried out in
1979-1980 and all materials were sent to what was at that time the
Soviet Prosecutor General's office in Moscow.
But the Russian Prosecutor General's Office told the AP earlier this
month that it does not have the files and does not know where they are.
Demjanjuk said in his statement that if the court did not attempt to
find the file, and others, he would "within two weeks begin a hunger
Following Demjanjuk's statement, Busch read through a raft of new
motions for more evidence and on scores of other requests.
After more than 100 such requests, prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz asked
the judges to order Busch to present any further motions in written
form, accusing him of trying to bring the trial to a standstill.
"This is clearly to delay the proceedings," the
The court indicated, however, that it would allow the motions to
proceed when the trial resumes Wednesday [23Feb2011].
Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and David Rising in Berlin contributed to
Kyiv Post | 22Feb2011 | Reuters
Demjanjuk threatens hunger strike as trial nears end
John Demjanjuk, accused of helping to
kill 27,900 Jews in the Holocaust, will go on a hunger strike unless
the court allows him to present evidence that could exonerate him, his
lawyer said on Feb. 22, 2011.
Ulrich Busch, who is defending the 90-year-old in a Munich court
against charges of assisting in killings at the Sobibor Nazi death camp
in Poland, said Demjanjuk would begin the hunger strike within the next
Busch said there are documents in a KGB file from Russia and Ukraine
that could prove Demjanjuk is innocent. He read a statement for
Demjanjuk in which he accused Judge Ralph Alt of conducting a political
"This is a mockery of justice," Busch said on Demjanjuk's behalf.
Prosecutors are expected to conclude their case on Tuesday and final
arguments could also begin unless Demjanjuk's health deteriorates, a
Munich court spokesman said. A verdict could be reached in March.
The 15-month trial has been delayed periodically as Demjanjuk has
refused at times to attend sessions on grounds of ill-health even
though he was declared fit by doctors.
German state prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was top of the Simon
Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted war criminals, of assisting in
killings at Sobibor, where they say at least 250,000 Jews were killed.
He denies having worked there.
His family says he is too frail for trial, which he began in November
2009 in a wheelchair and attends lying down. Demjanjuk was born in
Ukraine and fought in the Red Army before the Nazis captured him and
recruited him as a camp guard during World War Two. He emigrated to the
United States in 1951 and became a naturalised citizen in 1958.