Tuesday, May 12, 2009


There must be substantial evidence that German prosecutors have that the Israeli Supreme Court did not consider when it overturned John Demjanjuk's death sentenced in 1993 for crimes against humanity. The Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction when new evidence raised doubts that he was Ivan the Terrible. Reading from the various news reports, it appears that since 1988, new evidence has surfaced implicating Demjanjuk in the killing of 29,000 Jews, Gypsies and political prisoners at the Sobibor Nazi death camp in occupied Poland.

However, John Gill, an attorney on who was part of the legal defense team on the Israeli case ,stated that: "I don't believe there's any evidence. I think it's more like an anger or revenge situation, that they want to do something to someone that they think did something wrong."

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Wiesenthal Center Founder, stated that in part that ". . .John Demjanjuk will finally face the bar of justice for the unspeakable crimes he committed during World War. . .[and] . . .deserves to be punished..."

As for me, if he committed the crime he should get punished regardless of age or health. If he is guilty, no mercy should be given as he showed no mercy to the people that he killed or helped kill. I am surprised that someone in all these years didn't see "street justice" as an appropriate method of dealing with Demjanjuk.

We will have to wait to see what proof the German government has against Demjanjuk. Just because a person is charged with a crime does not mean that the person is guilty. How many people have been released from death row?

What seems suspicious of the Demjanjuk's story is that he alleges that he took no part in Sobibor. His story is that was a Red Army soldier who spent World War II as a Nazi POW and never hurt anyone.

Mistaken identity or not, it appears that he had many connections to Sobibor - including a photo ID identifying Demjanjuk as a guard at the Sobibor death camp. Further, in 1948 when he made an application as a displaced person - a category reserved mainly for former concentration camp prisoners and forced laborers - he stated that he worked at Sobibor. His application was for assistance as a refugee and asked for transfer to Argentina.

I can't imagine that the German government would have proceeded to bring an 89 year old man to Germany unless it felt that there was sufficient evidence to convict him. However, the fact the Israeli Supreme Court overturned Demjanjuk's conviction should not be taken lightly. We will see what develops.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there is no need to speculate about what evidence the German prosecutors have. It's the same evidence that formed the basis of the successful denatuarlization case against Demjanjuk in 2002. In that case, Paul Matia, then Chief Judge in the Northern District of Ohio, found there was "clear, convincing and unequivocal evidence" that Demjanjuk had served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp, as well as at the Majdanek and Flossenburg concentration camps. The decision can be found at 2002 WL 544622; 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6999

According to J. Matia, the evidence that Demjanuk had served at Sobibor included (1) a notation on his service ID card that he had been assigned to Sobibor, (2) a transfer roster showing he had been assigned and sent to Sobibor (he was listed by name, date and place of birth); (3) many of the other guards listed on the Sobibor transfer roster admitted after the war that they had served there.

Judge Matia also found that extensive forensic testing has authenticated these documents, and there has never been any credible evidence that they were forged or altered. In fact, J. Matia issued a separate supplemental ruling to address (and demolish) the long history of claims that the Soviets forged documents to frame Demjanjuk. One of the things he pointed out was that some of the documents proving Demjanjuk's Nazi service were never in Soviet hands -- they had been in West German archives since the end of the war.

The Germans have also located a living witness who knew Demjanjuk during the war. Presumably, he will be able to confirm that Demjanjuk served at Sobibor.

So John Gill's claim that they have no evidence is obviously no more than wishful thinking or willful blindness.

lubomyr said...

The quality of the discussion of John Demjanjuk would not suffer from the introduction of three facts.

(1) That the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka for whose crimes John Demjanjuk narrowly escaped being hanged is imaginary:

(2) That the "Demjanjuk" signature on the Trawniki ID Card is forged, to conceal which that signature has been erased:

(3) That it was not the German military but the KGB that glued the photograph of John Demjanjuk to the Trawniki ID Card:

jpatituce said...

As a lawyer in Cleveland I found this article to be well written and right on point.


Joseph C. Patituce

The Legal Defenders, PC

70 West Madison, Ste 1400 * Chicago * IL 60602 * Phone: (800) 228-7295 * Fax: (800) 604-0507