Nederlands Holocaust in Europe After 1945

Demjanjuk trial

The court proceedings against the Ukrainian war criminal, John Demjanjuk (born in 1920), demonstrate once again that memories of the atrocities committed in the extermination camps incite deep emotions even years after the war. Demjanjuk was a guard in Sobibor and on 12 May, 2011 - more than 67 years after the dismantling of the camp - he was sentenced to five years in prison by the court in Munich (Germany). After a trial of nearly six months, the court was convinced that he was an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Jews in the extermination camp. In 1952, Demjanjuk emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the United States and worked as a car mechanic in Cleveland, Ohio. Halfway the 1970s he was accused of being the notorious 'brute' of Treblinka also known as 'Ivan the Terrible'. In 1987, after long legal proceedings, he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and was extradited to Israel. In 1988, he was sentenced to death by the Israeli court, but this verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court because it was determined that he did not work in Treblinka. The necessary judicial proceedings about his citizenship and possible extradition were the next step once he was back in the United States. This time around, it was based on the fact that with near certainty he was a guard in the Sobibor extermination camp. In 2008, he was extradited to Germany. Demjanjuk still insists that during WWII he served as a soldier in the Red Army and that from 1942 he was a prisoner in German camps. He appealed against his verdict that was passed in 2011. He can await the results of this appeal as a free man in a German old age home.


demjanjuk id card 1943
Photo on Demjanjuk’s ID card, around 1943.
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