March 12, 2009, - 10:53 am

German Indictments of Nazi Demjanjuk No Cause for Celebration; Only ICE Gave Death Camp Guard Any Real Punishment

By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
A number of readers have sent me e-mails celebrating that former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was charged by Germany as an accessory to murder in 29,000 cases.
Yeah, that’s nice. But, as I’ve repeatedly written about Demjanjuk (see also here), the dude is 88 years old. He’s lived a long life, longer than most people live. In some cases, this Ukrainian Nazi lived four times as long as his victims. Any punishment he gets now will be like a paper cut. He’s lived long enough to have children, see them grow up and get married, have grandchildren–which many of his Treblinka victims never got to do, thanks to him–and he’s done it all on U.S. soil. He’s lived here in mostly freedom for over half a century.

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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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As longtime readers know, I’ve been writing about John Demjanjuk for many years and following him since I was in the seventh grade. Really. When I was in seventh grade, I accompanied my father and my Holocaust survivor maternal grandfather, Isaac, to a forum in the Detroit Jewish Community featuring officials from the Justice Department Office of Special Investigations (OSI), who were heading up the prosecution of Demjanjuk. That was in the early ’80s.
The man, Demjanjuk, has successfully fought and appealed and motioned the U.S. and Israeli Justice systems to death. His argument that he wasn’t Nazi death camp guard, Ivan the Terrible, but that the was Ivan-the-not-quite-as-Terrible was a successful one (even though it’s not true). His arguments that we can’t rely on Soviet documents identifying him was successful, too.
Demjanjuk also somehow successfully convinced some courts he wasn’t really an SS Guard, even though he had the SS tattoo under his arm. I suppose someone tattooed him at gunpoint. Nope, that was reserved for people like my cousin, Avraham, who had the numbers forcibly tattooed on his arm at the point of the guns of people like Demjanjuk.
He successfully beat tough, good people at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Operations, who really were the only people who meted out any justice to Demjanjuk. They kept him in an ICE jail until they had to let him out after the usual 90-180 days or so. I commend ICE for, again, being the only people to give this Nazi killer any form of real imprisonment, though it was still better and far more humane than the suffering and death he imposed on Treblinka Jews.
And, as I’ve repeatedly noted, Demjanjuk–who lied on his documents to enter and get citizenship in this country–wasn’t punished for it much, if at all.
For instance, where the heck was Germany with their 29,000 criminal counts decades ago? Why did they wait until now?
They should have done it a long time ago and the U.S. would have extradited the guy there to face justice.
This guy gamed the system because the system in America allowed him to game it.
Now, it’s just too little, too late. John Demjanjuk, mass-murdering Nazi, won’t ever be adequately punished on this earth.
But when he dies, I hope he’ll be getting it from G-d.
Unfortunately, the same goes for so many Nazi war criminals on our soil (like Johann Leprich). They fight and/or hide until they’re so old, we let ‘em out or they’ve managed to escape justice until too late.
**** UPDATE: Read my friend, Fred Taub of Boycott Watch’s “Call Him Ivan the Terrible.” Fred has followed the Demjanjuk case from the beginning and is an authority on the whole matter.

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6 Responses

A lot of people do not realize that most of the guards at the 6 Extermination camps (all in Poland – Chelmno, Sobibor, Maidanek, Aushiwtz-Bireknau, Belzec, and Treblinka) were Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians.

Ripper on March 12, 2009 at 11:38 am

Uh-oh, Pat Buchanan, Demjanjuk supporter, is going to be very, very upset.

lexi on March 12, 2009 at 11:51 am

I agree, justice delayed is justice denied.
The fact that this guy bretahed free air for so long in this country is also an insult to all the GI’s that fought and sacrificed to bring down the Third Reich.

Tempus Fugit on March 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

It is rather bizarre that this guy still gets all
this attention even after serving time in Isralei
jails. Compared to Alfred Krupp he was small fry.
Krupp ran a slave empire at his Krupp Arms Works
during the war. Yet he ( with the help of an
American lawyer ) got only 2 years in a comfy
jail, and after release got all his property
back ( see William Manchester’s best seller
“The Arms of Krupp” ). The big fish always get
away !

Hawkins on March 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Reminds me that Israel put him on trial about 20 years ago and let him go free for lack of alleged evidence. I was really mad about it and that was only time other than when Oslo was signed, that I felt ashamed of the Jewish State. Where was the justice for the survivors? You know, it could have been different.
I just don’t understand it.

NormanF on March 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Wow, who’d of thought I’d see the day where you actually COMMEND ICE? :-) But you points are well done, Deb. I remember reading about him in the 80’s too and always wondered what happened to him, a shame he essentially got away with it. Thanks Deb.

hairymon on March 16, 2009 at 9:04 am

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