Cleveland Plain Dealer | May 16, 2002 | Bill Sloat

Demjanjuk appeals loss of American citizenship

Cincinnati - John Demjanjuk has asked a federal appeals court to overturn a Cleveland judge's ruling that stripped him of U.S. citizenship for serving as a Nazi-trained guard during World War II.

Demjanjuk, 82, filed paperwork challenging U.S. District Judge Paul R. Matia's decision. Matia found that the Ukrainian immigrant lied about his past at three concentration camps so he could enter the United States a half century ago.

The appeal, which could take a year or longer to be decided, is in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ten years ago, the same appeals court conducted an investigation that sanctioned Justice Department prosecutors for withholding evidence, helping clear the Seven Hills retiree of charges he was "Ivan the Terrible."

In the latest case, Demjanjuk does not face criminal charges. But he could be deported to Ukraine, a nation he hasn't seen since he was drafted into the Soviet army for World War II.

Matia found that seven documents created by German authorities during the 1940s linked Demjanjuk to work as a concentration camp guard.

Demjanjuk's lawyer, John Broadley, said he can show the records are forgeries and fakes.

He also will ask the appeals court to revive a lawsuit Demjanjuk filed that seeks $5 million from the government for alleged torture, harassment and falsely claiming he committed mass murder as Ivan the Terrible.

"The government shipped this guy to Israel to face a murder charge," Broadley said. "It withheld evidence that showed someone else was Ivan the Terrible. He isn't going to stop fighting to clear his name."

Contact Bill Sloat at:

[email protected], 513-631-4125