Kyiv Post | 01Feb2011 | Marco Levytsky
John Demjanjuk -- the universal
The John Demjanjuk saga has taken on absurd Kafkaesque dimensions.
A survivor of Soviet Russia’s genocidal Holodomor, conscripted into the
Soviet Red Army then captured by Nazi Germany and subjected to
appalling conditions of starvation in a Prisoner of War Camp, Demjanjuk
was, some 30 years later, falsely accused of being the notorious prison
guard “Ivan the Terrible” by the U.S. witch-hunting Office of Special
Investigations, which fraudulently withheld evidence that would clear
him from his defence attorneys.
He was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1981 and extradited to
Israel, where he was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1988, only
to have the conviction overturned five years later as a case of
mistaken identity by the Israeli Supreme Court.
The 90-year-old former Ohio autoworker is already being tried in
Germany -- the country that gave the world Adolph Hitler and the
Holocaust -- on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder while
serving as a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp.
Now Spain -- another former fascist state -- has jumped into the fray
wants to try Demjanjuk on charges of being an accessory to genocide and
crimes against humanity. Spanish Judge Ismael Moreno has accused
Demjanjuk of working at the Nazi concentration camp in Flossenbuerg in
Bavaria in southern Germany, where Moreno says 155 Spaniards were held,
60 of whom died.
Germany, which democratically elected Hitler in 1933, and is thus
responsible for the Holocaust, has been loath to prosecute its own
native-born war criminals in the past. Now it’s too late because
Germany recently passed a statute of limitations law on the prosecution
of its own war criminals. Neither will that country allow its citizens
to be extradited to any other country to face war crimes charges.
Quite ironically, the Ukrainophobic Simon Wiesenthal Center in its most
recent report, which covers the period from April 2009 to March 2010,
gave top marks to Germany -- the first time any country besides the
has been given an "A'' grade for prosecuting suspected Nazi war
criminals. All because it has found itself an innocent “subhuman”
Ukrainian scapegoat to crucify, while letting its own real war
criminals go free.
Incidentally, the director of the Wiesenthal Center's Israel office,
Efraim Zuroff, called Canada's efforts "a terrible failure" for “not
extraditing former Nazis even after stripping them of citizenship”
according to an Associated Press report. Obviously Zuroff has no idea
what the word “extradite” means since none of the people in question
were ever charged -- let alone -- convicted of any crimes, nor were any
of them Nazis.
Extradition means to deport someone who is charged with crimes in
another country to face justice. Whenever war criminals were actually
charged in another country, as was the case with Jacob Luitjens, Canada
did extradite them. Not so with Germany. Another country that won’t
extradite its own citizens to face war crimes charges is Israel. Take
the case of Salomon Morel, the 1945 commandant of the infamous
Communist Zgoda camp in Swietochlowice, Poland.
It is estimated that close to 2,000 inmates died there and that torture
and abuse of prisoners were chronic. He was indicted by Poland in1998,
Israel refused to extradite him.
Spain, for its part, has granted an amnesty to all the fascist war
criminals who committed countless crimes against humanity during the
1936-1939 Civil War and the 1939-1976 dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
One judge, Baltasar Garzón, who in 2008 launched an investigation into
these crimes against humanity found himself suspended from his duties,
while the Supreme Court tries him on charges of distorting the law by
opening the investigation into crimes against humanity carried out by
the Franco regime in the first place.
So here we have it. Countries like Germany and Spain cover up their own
Nazi and Fascist crimes against humanity while ganging up on an
innocent 90-year-old victim of such crimes and a convenient universal
scapegoat. It’s high times these hypocritical states -- who claim to be
civilized western democracies -- came to grips with their own criminal
pasts and atoned for their sins instead of persecuting innocent
Marco Levytsky is the editor and publisher of Ukrainian News,
an independent bi-weekly newspaper based in Edmonton and distributed