May 20, 2008, - 12:11 pm

A Nazi Murderer’s Good Life: Will We Finally Deport John Demjanjuk?

By Debbie Schlussel
Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected the last appeal (I hope) of Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk to avoid deportation.
I’ve been following the story of Demjanjuk . . . since I began elementary school. He’s now 88 and still here, even though he was found out in the mid-’70s. He falsified applications (and lied about his Nazi past) to enter the U.S. in 1952, more than a decade ago, and to obtain American citizenship in 1958.
Demjanjuk–the wicked Ukrainian who prevented innocent Jews from escaping their deaths in the ovens and via the firing squads–has lived the good life in America for decades. He worked as an autoworker in Ohio, had a home in the suburbs, health benefits, a pension, a wife, a family, children, grandchildren–all the things his victims never had because they were sent to their untimely early deaths . . . murdered by his colleagues while he stood guard.

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John Demjanjuk:

Just One of Many Nazis Who Gamed the System for a Good Life in America

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Nazi Death Camp Guard John Demjanjuk Then (Third From Left)

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But, to give you an indication on how difficult it is to deport someone–even a known war criminal–Demjanjuk fought and appealed and tolled the end of his good American life for decades.
Demjanjuk has lived a full life. Even if he’s deported tomorrow, he will have lived a longer, fuller, and better life than he deserved.
And he will have proved how America’s courts–specifically, it’s complicated web of immigration and regular courts–failed to give the 11 million victims of the Holocaust whom John Demjanjuk and his Third Reich buddies murdered, any form of justice.
Question: Since the Supreme Court has issued a final “no dice” to Demjanjuk, how long before the man is deported?
Sad Answer: Don’t hold your breath. The other prob with the immigration system is that without “travel documents” issued by another country, we can’t send him away to anywhere, anytime soon. And no country wants to take him. Can you blame them?
Yes, this hardened Nazi murderer, John Demjanjuk, will probably die a free man in America and never suffer a day (but for the 6 months he spent in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Detention and Removal facility–where he was still treated far better than his victims).
Throughout his legal odyssey, he’s fought with the U.S. and Israeli governments, Soviet intelligence, and his victims about whether he was “Ivan the Terrible” (the legendary evil Nazi guard and mass murderer) or “Ivan the Almost as Terrible”.
But one thing is for sure: throughout all this, John Demjanjuk was “Ivan Who Lived More than a Half Century of the Not so Terrible American Life With Impunity for His Crimes.”
And “Ivan the Nazi Who Gamed the U.S. System.”
Read my previous column on John Demjanuk:
* The John Demjanjuk Story: How “Deporting” a Nazi Takes Decades; Lesson on Greater Immigration Probs

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4 Responses

At least it’s nice to know that his last 30 years have been very unpleasant ones of constant court battles and worry. Not that it’s payback, of course, but still good news.

kishke on May 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm

When are we American citizens going to wake up and understand that our ridiculous government is not some mysterious oracle for which we must wait each day for permissions, guidance, and sustenance? Our government is a bloated, inefficient, slow-moving parasite that feeds off hard-working Americans while rewarding laziness. Our government has no inherent power. It can only do what we the people say it can do. It taxes the hell out of us, redistributes wealth, and is involved way too much in our personal lives because we’ve given it the power to do so. It cannot control the borders, nor deport Demjanjuk, because we don’t demand that it does. We can whack our government into shape anytime we want, but it will take the masses to get involved and demand it. Unfortuantely, the masses to whom I speak are not reading Debbie’s column. They’re listening to Top 40 radio, reading People magazine, watching TV Land or One Life to Live, playing tennis with their tubby friends, or sitting outside of Starbucks, sipping a doubleshot while admiring their new Lexus IS F. “Why waste time reading about or listening to all of that political stuff? I’ve got an early tee time.” We Americans are too fat in more ways than one, and we only want to get fatter. You see where we’re headed? It’s going to take something much worse than 9/11 before we demand change.

AynaydaPizaqvick on May 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm

it is a sham that our government has taken over 50 years to do something with this person, and remember debbie serbian faced the same problem from the nazi gang , dont forget the croatia turn in serbian to the nazi and the croatia were given a pass because of the secret deal with the catholic church and there puppet pope. yes dont forget the gypies the horror story the nazi did to them .

PNAMARBLE on May 20, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Perhaps we could get Israel to take him? My understanding is their courts are pretty good at dealing with his ilk…

DocLiberty on May 21, 2008 at 8:48 am

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