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.
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.