Is John Demjanjuk guilty of other crimes?
"Following John Demjanjuk's acquittal on charges of being Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, the Jewish chorus of denunciation and abuse against him did not stop, it merely modulated to a new key. The new key was that although John Demjanjuk may not have been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, he was nevertheless Ivan the Pretty Bad of somewhere else." — Lubomyr Prytulak
If Not Ivan the Terrible,
Ivan the Pretty Bad?
Following John Demjanjuk's acquittal on charges of being Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, the Jewish chorus of denunciation and abuse against him did not stop, it merely modulated to a new key. The new key was that although John Demjanjuk may not have been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, he was nevertheless Ivan the Pretty Bad of somewhere else. For example, Philip Roth states in his preface to Operation Shylock:
[T]he prosecution argued that newly discovered documentation from German federal archives now proved conclusively that Demjanjuk had perjured himself repeatedly in denying that he had also been a guard at the Trawniki training camp, the Flossenburg concentration camp, and the Sobibor death camp. (Philip Roth, Operation Shylock: A Confession, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993, ISBN 0-671-70376-5, p. 14)|
From the Ukrainian side, these accusations must be answered; ignoring them only encourages the view that the Ukrainian position is biased and does not stand up to the evidence. Fortunately, however, an effective rebuttal is available:
(1) The fresh accusations come from the same sources that levelled the old accusations
And, one cannot help noticing, the old accusations were patently false and those levelling them were demonstrably lying. If the fresh accusations came from impartial sources, it would give them more weight.
(2) The fresh accusations are informal
The old accusations of which John Demjanjuk was acquitted were presented formally to various investigative bodies and to Israeli courts, and thus the evidence behind them could to some degree be examined and challenged. The fresh accusations have never been presented formally, were not the subject of litigation, and so have never been subjected to critical scrutiny. The fresh accusations, rather, constitute press releases of the calumniators of John Demjanjuk and of Ukraine. When after years of concerted effort, the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Israel failed to pin anything on John Demjanjuk, they chose to bow out of the act mumbling charges that some sort of evidence was available after all, but that it had merely come too late to be useful in the formal proceedings.
(3) Evidence of zero involvement still exists
I have not seen any explanation of how it is possible for John Demjanjuk to have been a guard at any camps — either at Treblinka as formally charged, or at other camps as recently rumored — when the letter from Dr. Czeslaw Pilichowski of the Polish Main Commission Investigating Nazi Crimes in Poland stated that the Commission had no data concerning Demjanjuk, which was tantamount to saying that Demjanjuk did not appear on the personnel lists of any camp. We have seen Elie Wiesel pleading with the Soviet Ambassador to the US, Yuri V. Dubinin, to find a personalbogen — a personnel file kept by the Nazis — concerning John Demjanjuk at the Trawniki training camp, and we know that the Soviets failed to discover one — and we are aware that no personalbogen emerged during the entire duration of the Israeli trial, and none emerged also during the entire duration of the Israeli appeal — no personalbogen for Trawniki, none for Treblinka, none for Sobibor — which is incompatible with John Demjanjuk having served at any of these sites.
(4) Membership in a camp guard unit is not a crime
The only rumors in circulation today are that John Demjanjuk was a camp guard somewhere. However, I have already demonstrated that membership in a camp guard unit is non-culpable, and may even typically have resulted from laudable motives. My arguments may be found in my Letter 10 (Auxiliary Police and Camp Guards blameless?) to Anne McLellan, Canada's Minister of Justice, and are echoed in other of my letters to Anne McLellan, as for example Letter 16 (Deluged by war crimes). See also the explanation by Heinrich Schaefer of the non-culpable duties that a POW passing through the Trawniki training camp may have been assigned to.
(5) Lying on immigration forms to avoid repatriation to, and probable execution by, the Soviet Union was possibly widespread among Soviet refugees, and must today be considered to be non-culpable
It is possible that large numbers of east European refugees recognized that acknowledging participation in any German armed forces — no matter how brief or perfunctory or non-culpable that participation may have been — would have increased their chances of being shipped back to Soviet jurisdiction and at best being sentenced to hard labor in Siberia and at worst being shot. Soviet refugees lied to avoid the dire treatment that awaited them. Soviet refugees lied because the Allies were committing against them the crime of forcibly repatriating them to a totalitarian state that was waiting to kill them. Who will be surprised to learn that large numbers of refugees lied in order to save themselves from such an undeserved death? What system of justice has become so perverted as to prosecute people for such a lie after the passage of half a century?
It is possible, furthermore, that immigration officials were aware of the predicament being faced by Soviet refugees, and upon discovering non-culpable participation in German armed forces, discouraged the refugees from formally acknowledging it on their applications.
And so when the original charge against John Demjanjuk — that he murdered almost one million Jews at Treblinka — is demonstrated to be fraudulent, what do his persecutors do but start a whispering campaign of alternative charges that he was guilty of something, but where a little reflection demonstrates that that alternative something was non-culpable and was even praiseworthy? The continuing calumniation of John Demjanjuk may be likened to Alfred Dreyfus coming back from Devil's Island exonerated, but continuing to be vilified by rumors that he carried a bar of soap off base more than half a century earlier, and by rumors that he was unable to tell a consistent story concerning whether he had done so or why.
Get a life.
The continuing Jewish harassment of John Demjanjuk, in short, discredits those who persist in it, and discredits too all those who should dissociate themselves from it but don't. Please read Barbara Amiel's article on this question, and then please give the much-beleaguered and long-suffering John Demjanjuk some relief.