Kyiv Post | 13Apr2010 | Juergen Baetz
Demjanjuk casts himself as a
victim of Hitler
It is interesting that in none of the four stories reproduced
below, Demjanjuk's simple one-page "Declaration" is not
April 13 at 20:11 | Associated Press MUNICH (AP) — Accused death camp
guard John Demjanjuk told a German court Apr. 12, 2010 he was a victim
of the Nazis himself, using his first major statement since his trial
began to blast the country that started World War II for prosecuting
Demjanjuk, who turned 90 earlier this month, is standing trial on
27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder on allegations he was a
guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland. He denies ever being at
any camp, claiming he is the victim of mistaken identity.
Demjanjuk told the court in a statement he signed and that was read
aloud by his attorney, that as a Soviet prisoner of war the Nazis used
him as a slave laborer, while killing millions of his fellow Ukrainians.
Since his extradition from the U.S. last May, Demjanjuk has been in a
prison near Munich, again "as a German prisoner of war," he said. "I am
again and again an innocent victim of the Germans," he told the court.
The two-page statement
signed by Demjanjuk was the first comment of
length the retired Ohio autoworker has made in court since his trial
began Nov. 30, 2009.
He said after the war he was unable to return to his homeland, and has
now been taken from his family in the United States, calling the trial
a "continuation of the injustice" done to him.
"Germany is responsible for the fact that I have lost for good my whole
reason to live, my family, my happiness, any future and hope," he said.
After the day's session, an attorney representing the families of
victims of the Holocaust who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as
allowed under the German system, said the statement shows Demjanjuk is
still showing no remorse and lacks understanding.
"The defendant did not say a word about the Nazis' victims," attorney
Rolf Kleidermann said.
Demjanjuk could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted for his
alleged activities training as a guard in the SS camp Trawniki, then
serving at Sobibor.
The prosecution argues that after Demjanjuk, a Soviet Red Army soldier,
was captured by the Germans in 1942 he volunteered to serve under the
SS as a guard.
Demjanjuk denies ever having served as a guard, saying that he spent
most of the rest of the war in Nazi POW camps 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.
A key piece of the prosecution's evidence in the trial against
Demjanjuk is a Nazi ID card that allegedly shows he has served time in
Sobibor. His defense, however, maintains the ID card is a fake.
An expert witness testified Tuesday that his analysis of the photograph
on the card is that it is "with high probability" Demjanjuk in the
Reinhardt Altmann, a retired expert with Germany's Federal Criminal
Police Office, showed the court seven photos of Demjanjuk from various
stages of his life, including one from a driver's license, one from his
wedding and two from the U.S. visa and citizenship process.
By comparing some 20 characteristics of Demjanjuk from those
photos — such as eyebrows, lips and nose — to the Nazi identity card,
he testified he had concluded that all the photos very likely showed
the same person.
He stressed, however, that he was not qualified to judge whether the
photos, provided by Israeli and U.S. archives, are genuine after
defense attorney Ulrich Busch suggested they could have been faked.
As in previous sessions, Demjanjuk lay on a hospital bed in the
courtroom wearing sunglasses and did not react to the testimony.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
UPI.com | 13Apr2010 | UPI
Demjanjuk blames Jewish groups
MUNICH, Germany, April 13, 2010 (UPI) -- Ivan Demjanjuk, on trial in
Germany for serving as a World War II concentration camp guard, said
Tuesday he is an "innocent victim" pursued by Jewish groups.
A lawyer read a statement by the 90-year-old retired autoworker to a
court in Munich, the World Jewish Congress reported. Demjanjuk, a
Ukrainian who emigrated to the United States, specifically blamed the
Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
"It is an injustice that Germany tries to make me, a prisoner of war,
into a war criminal to try to deviate from its own war crimes," the
statement said. "This trial is torture for me."
Demjanjuk has been fighting charges of war crimes for decades. In 1986,
he was extradited to Israel where he was convicted and sentenced to
death for being "Ivan the Terrible," a notorious guard at the Treblinka
death camp in Poland.
After the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1993,
Demjanjuk was allowed to return to his home near Cleveland and his U.S.
citizenship was restored. But new charges were brought that he had been
a guard at the Sobibor camp in Poland, he lost his citizenship in 2002
and was extradited to Germany last year.
Reuters | 13Apr2010 | Jens Hack
Demjanjuk rejects Nazi camp
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Accused Nazi camp guard John Demjanjuk
responded to charges in a German courtroom for the first time on
Tuesday, attacking the justice system and referring to himself as a
"prisoner of war."
In a statement read to the Munich court by defence attorney Ulrich
Busch, the 90-year-old Demjanjuk rejected charges he helped kill 27,900
Jews during the Holocaust.
"(I) was forcibly deported to Germany where an essentially false charge
of accessory to murder was made," he said in the statement, read while
he lay motionless in a mobile bed wearing dark sunglasses.
German state prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was top of the Simon
Wiesenthal Centre's list of most-wanted war criminals, of assisting in
killings at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where they say at least
250,000 Jews were killed.
The retired auto worker was born in Ukraine and fought in the Red Army
before being captured by the Nazis and recruited as a camp guard during
World War Two. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 and became a
naturalised citizen in 1958.
In his comments on Tuesday, Demjanjuk attacked Germany for both its
role in the war and for bringing him to trial.
"It is not right that one wants to make a war criminal out of a
prisoner of war," his statement said. "Germany is guilty of a war of
extermination in which I lost my home."
Demjanjuk denies having worked at Sobibor, and his family says he is
too frail for a trial which he began in a wheelchair and now attends
lying down after complaining of pain.
"I am thankful to the care personnel -- they help reduce the great pain
brought by this trial, which I consider torture," he said in the
(Reporting by Jens Hack; writing by Brian Rohan; editing by Andrew
© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved.
Bloomberg.com | 13Apr2010 | Karin Matussek
Demjanjuk Says Trial Over
Nazi-Camp Role Is ‘Torture’
April 13, 2010 (Bloomberg) -- John Demjanjuk, on trial for aiding in
the murder of 27,900 Jews during World War II, told a Munich court he
is an “innocent victim” and blamed the U.S. and Jewish groups for the
charges against him.
In his first statement to the court, Demjanjuk, 90, said that he has
been falsely prosecuted for 30 years in the U.S., Israel and Germany.
Prosecutors say Demjanjuk worked as a guard at the Sobibor
extermination camp in German-occupied Poland in 1943.
“It’s an injustice that Germany tries to make me, a prisoner of war,
into a war criminal to try to deviate from its own war crimes,”
Demjanjuk said in the statement read to the court today by his lawyer,
Ulrich Busch. “This trial is torture for me.”
Demjanjuk, a Ukraine native and retired autoworker, lived near
Cleveland until he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and extradited
to Israel in 1986. He was tried there on charges he was “Ivan the
Terrible,” the guard who tortured Jews while herding them into the
Treblinka concentration camp gas chambers.
His death sentence and conviction in the case were overturned in 1993
by Israel’s Supreme Court, which said there was reasonable doubt that
he served at Treblinka. Demjanjuk returned to the U.S., regaining his
citizenship. In 2002, a U.S. court revoked it again over his alleged
role at Sobibor. He was extradited to Germany last year to stand trial
Demjanjuk also attacked the U.S. and Jewish groups, blaming the U.S.
Office of Special Investigation and the “circles behind it, namely the
World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center” for his
“Now, at the end of my life, I’m put on trial for the 30th or 40th time
on the same allegation. I don’t have the strength to resist any more,”
Demjanjuk said in the statement. “I’m defenseless in this justice war
waged against me for 30 years, which the Germans” took over.
The Germans captured Demjanjuk, who was fighting in the Russian Army,
in 1942, according to the indictment in the Munich case. He was later
trained as a guard at Trawniki and served at Sobibor from March to
September 1943, the prosecution claims. During that period, 27,900
Jews, mostly deported from the Netherlands, were killed in the camp,
according to prosecutors.
“It’s outrageous to insinuate that this trial’s aim was to blur
Germany’s responsibility for Nazi crimes,” said Rolf Kleidermann, a
lawyer representing relatives of Sobibor victims in the trial. “It’s
the first time the accused addresses the court, but he has not one word
to say about the suffering of the Jews who were the real victims here.”
Following Demjanjuk’s statement, the court heard additional evidence in
Reinhardt Altmann from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office
testified that a picture on a camp guard identity card is that of
Demjanjuk as a young man. The picture was compared with several other
photos of Demjanjuk over his lifetime, Altmann said.
The testimony contrasts with claims by Busch earlier in the trial that
the ID card was forged, presumably by the Russian secret service.
Busch asked the court today to retrieve more files from the U.S.,
Israel and Italy, saying that prosecutors failed to include evidence
that may clear Demjanjuk.
To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Munich via