March 25th, 2009 12:50 EST
Nazi War Criminal Will Return To Fatherland To Face Long-Awaited Justice
The Federal government asked German authorities for the necessary travel papers to deport the accused World War II Nazi guard John Demjanjuk back to Europe. Demjanjuk, (pronounced dem-YAHN`-yuk), was living in Seven Hills: a suburban community in the Cleveland metropolitan area, before he was tracked down by Immigration officials.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the 88-year-old man was once accused of being a guard at the infamous Treblinka death camp in occupied Poland during the war, but was later acquitted. In March, the Ohio resident was charged by a German tribunal with war crimes committed while he was stationed at Sobibor, another Nazi concentration camp in Poland. Once in German custody, he will be tried on 29,000 counts of accessory to murder.
John Demjanjuk Jr. said that while these charges face his father, John Sr. is still a free man. When U.S. Immigration plans on detaining him is yet to be seen. Demjanjuk`s family claims he is in very poor health and traveling in his condition would be especially unsafe. John Sr. is currently being treated for chronic kidney disease, and a slew of other potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Regarding his notorious father, John Demjanjuk Jr. said: "My dad spent a few hours in the emergency room the other day. He is being treated for kidney stones.
Germany`s warrant out for his arrest asks for the deportation or extradition of the alleged war criminal who vehemently denies the charges against him.
Attorneys in Munich assert Demjanjuk will be formally charged before the German court system upon extradition. The prosecutor`s office, commissioned to try him once he arrives in Germany, said: "In this capacity, he participated in the accessory to murder of at least 29,000 people of the Jewish faith." The Munich office later elaborated that they were trying him in particular because Demjanjuk spent time in a refugee camp in the region following the war.
Heading up the prosecution`s case against the defendant, Kurt Schrimm has been tracking down Nazis since 1958. Schrimm was behind the motion to pursue extraditing Demjanjuk back to Germany.
Efraim Zuroff, a leading Nazi hunter working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights agency based out of Los Angeles, was delighted to hear about the man`s date with destiny.
Zuroff said: "We`re very pleased that these steps are being taken to facilitate Demjanjuk`s extradition to Germany so that he can be tried and can be given an appropriate punishment for his heinous crimes during World War II."
Ulrich Saudegle, spokesperson for the German Justice Ministry, denied statements others made saying that U.S. officials requested for any particular documents, but confirmed reports that the German government was fully cooperating with the American government to ensure Demjanjuk sees his appointment in court.
Demjanjuk`s history after the war is hazy at least up until 1958 when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. In the years that followed, he`s never been convicted of any war crime charges in the states.
In 1977, he was convicted of trying to hide his checkered past from authorities: a past in which he was indicted as "Ivan The Terrible, an especially barbaric death camp guard. He was extradited to Israel in 1986 and was sentenced to death for atrocities and crimes against humanity two years later. Five years after being sentenced, he appealed the court`s decision and in a vote of 5-0, the court ruled that he in fact was not "Ivan the Terrible". For the past 16 years, he`s made his home in northeastern Ohio.
In 2002, a Cleveland federal judge revoked his American citizenship citing that prosecutors had succesfully overturned his citizenship by proving he had indeed been a guard in Hitler`s regime for two years during World War II. In the meantime, the U.S. Immigration court ruled that Demjanjuk was eligible for deportation to Gemany, Poland, or Ukraine: the countries in which he was reputedly a Nazi war criminal.
After a failed appeal attempt by the accused last May, German authorities are hoping to have him in their custody by the end of the year.