Kyiv Post | 13Apr2010 | Juergen Baetz

Demjanjuk casts himself as a victim of Hitler

[W.Z.  It is interesting that in none of the four stories reproduced below, Demjanjuk's simple one-page "Declaration" is not reproduced.]

April 13 at 20:11 | Associated Press MUNICH (AP) — Accused death camp guard John Demjanjuk told a German court Apr. 12, 2010 he was a victim of the Nazis himself, using his first major statement since his trial began to blast the country that started World War II for prosecuting him.

Demjanjuk, who turned 90 earlier this month, is standing trial on 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder on allegations he was a guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland. He denies ever being at any camp, claiming he is the victim of mistaken identity.

Demjanjuk told the court in a statement he signed and that was read aloud by his attorney, that as a Soviet prisoner of war the Nazis used him as a slave laborer, while killing millions of his fellow Ukrainians.

Since his extradition from the U.S. last May, Demjanjuk has been in a prison near Munich, again "as a German prisoner of war," he said. "I am again and again an innocent victim of the Germans," he told the court.

The two-page statement signed by Demjanjuk was the first comment of length the retired Ohio autoworker has made in court since his trial began Nov. 30, 2009.

He said after the war he was unable to return to his homeland, and has now been taken from his family in the United States, calling the trial a "continuation of the injustice" done to him.

"Germany is responsible for the fact that I have lost for good my whole reason to live, my family, my happiness, any future and hope," he said.

After the day's session, an attorney representing the families of victims of the Holocaust who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under the German system, said the statement shows Demjanjuk is still showing no remorse and lacks understanding.

"The defendant did not say a word about the Nazis' victims," attorney Rolf Kleidermann said.

Demjanjuk could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted for his alleged activities training as a guard in the SS camp Trawniki, then serving at Sobibor.

The prosecution argues that after Demjanjuk, a Soviet Red Army soldier, was captured by the Germans in 1942 he volunteered to serve under the SS as a guard.

Demjanjuk denies ever having served as a guard, saying that he spent most of the rest of the war in Nazi POW camps before joining the so-called Vlasov Army of anti-communist Soviet POWs and others. That army was formed to fight with the Germans against the encroaching Soviets in the final months of the war.

A key piece of the prosecution's evidence in the trial against Demjanjuk is a Nazi ID card that allegedly shows he has served time in Sobibor. His defense, however, maintains the ID card is a fake.

An expert witness testified Tuesday that his analysis of the photograph on the card is that it is "with high probability" Demjanjuk in the picture.

Reinhardt Altmann, a retired expert with Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office, showed the court seven photos of Demjanjuk from various stages of his life, including one from a driver's license, one from his wedding and two from the U.S. visa and citizenship process.

 By comparing some 20 characteristics of Demjanjuk from those photos — such as eyebrows, lips and nose — to the Nazi identity card, he testified he had concluded that all the photos very likely showed the same person.

He stressed, however, that he was not qualified to judge whether the photos, provided by Israeli and U.S. archives, are genuine after defense attorney Ulrich Busch suggested they could have been faked.

As in previous sessions, Demjanjuk lay on a hospital bed in the courtroom wearing sunglasses and did not react to the testimony.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
***************************************************************** | 13Apr2010 | UPI

Demjanjuk blames Jewish groups for charges

MUNICH, Germany, April 13, 2010 (UPI) -- Ivan Demjanjuk, on trial in Germany for serving as a World War II concentration camp guard, said Tuesday he is an "innocent victim" pursued by Jewish groups.

A lawyer read a statement by the 90-year-old retired autoworker to a court in Munich, the World Jewish Congress reported. Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian who emigrated to the United States, specifically blamed the Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"It is an injustice that Germany tries to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal to try to deviate from its own war crimes," the statement said. "This trial is torture for me."

Demjanjuk has been fighting charges of war crimes for decades. In 1986, he was extradited to Israel where he was convicted and sentenced to death for being "Ivan the Terrible," a notorious guard at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.

After the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1993, Demjanjuk was allowed to return to his home near Cleveland and his U.S. citizenship was restored. But new charges were brought that he had been a guard at the Sobibor camp in Poland, he lost his citizenship in 2002 and was extradited to Germany last year.

Reuters | 13Apr2010 | Jens Hack

Demjanjuk rejects Nazi camp murder accusations

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Accused Nazi camp guard John Demjanjuk responded to charges in a German courtroom for the first time on Tuesday, attacking the justice system and referring to himself as a "prisoner of war."

In a statement read to the Munich court by defence attorney Ulrich Busch, the 90-year-old Demjanjuk rejected charges he helped kill 27,900 Jews during the Holocaust.

"(I) was forcibly deported to Germany where an essentially false charge of accessory to murder was made," he said in the statement, read while he lay motionless in a mobile bed wearing dark sunglasses.

German state prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was top of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of most-wanted war criminals, of assisting in killings at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where they say at least 250,000 Jews were killed.

The retired auto worker was born in Ukraine and fought in the Red Army before being captured by the Nazis and recruited as a camp guard during World War Two. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 and became a naturalised citizen in 1958.

In his comments on Tuesday, Demjanjuk attacked Germany for both its role in the war and for bringing him to trial.

"It is not right that one wants to make a war criminal out of a prisoner of war," his statement said. "Germany is guilty of a war of extermination in which I lost my home."

Demjanjuk denies having worked at Sobibor, and his family says he is too frail for a trial which he began in a wheelchair and now attends lying down after complaining of pain.

"I am thankful to the care personnel -- they help reduce the great pain brought by this trial, which I consider torture," he said in the statement.

(Reporting by Jens Hack; writing by Brian Rohan; editing by Andrew Roche)

Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved.
******************************************************************************** | 13Apr2010 | Karin Matussek

Demjanjuk Says Trial Over Nazi-Camp Role Is ‘Torture’

April 13, 2010 (Bloomberg) -- John Demjanjuk, on trial for aiding in the murder of 27,900 Jews during World War II, told a Munich court he is an “innocent victim” and blamed the U.S. and Jewish groups for the charges against him.

In his first statement to the court, Demjanjuk, 90, said that he has been falsely prosecuted for 30 years in the U.S., Israel and Germany. Prosecutors say Demjanjuk worked as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland in 1943.

“It’s an injustice that Germany tries to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal to try to deviate from its own war crimes,” Demjanjuk said in the statement read to the court today by his lawyer, Ulrich Busch. “This trial is torture for me.”

Demjanjuk, a Ukraine native and retired autoworker, lived near Cleveland until he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and extradited to Israel in 1986. He was tried there on charges he was “Ivan the Terrible,” the guard who tortured Jews while herding them into the Treblinka concentration camp gas chambers.

His death sentence and conviction in the case were overturned in 1993 by Israel’s Supreme Court, which said there was reasonable doubt that he served at Treblinka. Demjanjuk returned to the U.S., regaining his citizenship. In 2002, a U.S. court revoked it again over his alleged role at Sobibor. He was extradited to Germany last year to stand trial in Munich.

Jewish ‘Circles’

Demjanjuk also attacked the U.S. and Jewish groups, blaming the U.S. Office of Special Investigation and the “circles behind it, namely the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center” for his prosecutions.

“Now, at the end of my life, I’m put on trial for the 30th or 40th time on the same allegation. I don’t have the strength to resist any more,” Demjanjuk said in the statement. “I’m defenseless in this justice war waged against me for 30 years, which the Germans” took over.

The Germans captured Demjanjuk, who was fighting in the Russian Army, in 1942, according to the indictment in the Munich case. He was later trained as a guard at Trawniki and served at Sobibor from March to September 1943, the prosecution claims. During that period, 27,900 Jews, mostly deported from the Netherlands, were killed in the camp, according to prosecutors.


“It’s outrageous to insinuate that this trial’s aim was to blur Germany’s responsibility for Nazi crimes,” said Rolf Kleidermann, a lawyer representing relatives of Sobibor victims in the trial. “It’s the first time the accused addresses the court, but he has not one word to say about the suffering of the Jews who were the real victims here.”

Following Demjanjuk’s statement, the court heard additional evidence in the case.

Reinhardt Altmann from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office testified that a picture on a camp guard identity card is that of Demjanjuk as a young man. The picture was compared with several other photos of Demjanjuk over his lifetime, Altmann said.

The testimony contrasts with claims by Busch earlier in the trial that the ID card was forged, presumably by the Russian secret service.

Busch asked the court today to retrieve more files from the U.S., Israel and Italy, saying that prosecutors failed to include evidence that may clear Demjanjuk.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Munich via [email protected]