Home > 2011 | 2009 | 2001 | 1996 Files | 1987 Transcripts | 1999 Katriuk | Critiques

Kyiv Post | 19Jan2012 | Associated Press

Demjanjuk seeks funds to sue German paper

BERLIN -- John Demjanjuk, who was convicted last year of serving as a Nazi death camp guard, is asking for German state financial help to sue the country's biggest-selling newspaper for alleged defamation.

Duesseldorf state court spokesman Ulrich Egger told The Associated Press on Thursday that Demjanjuk is complaining Bild newspaper's website labeled him a "war criminal" and a "Nazi henchman" before he was actually convicted in May of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder.

A lower court granted Demjanjuk financial help to sue, but for a maximum of €5,000 ($6,400) in damages, ruling more couldn't reasonably be expected. He's now appealing that decision, saying he needs funding to sue for €25,000. Egger says it's not clear when a ruling will be issued.

Demjanjuk's family says he has no financial resources.


jabs:  20Jan2012 at 05:12

by John Demjanjuk
First posted on http://www.xoxol.org/dem/declaration.html 14-April-2010 01:14pm PST, last revised 22-Jan-2012 04:51 pm PST
Go to Ukrainian Version

Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs

Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive. --  John Demjanjuk

The following Wikipedia excerpt and images supplement some of the statements that he makes in his Declaration at the bottom of this page.

[... photo 1 ...]

Wikipedia Caption:  An improvised camp for Soviet prisoners of war.  August 1942
Original historic description:  Scherl: Seit Beginn der Frühjahrskämpfe wurden an der Südostfront über eine Million gefangene Bolschewisten eingebracht. Riesig sind auch die Materialverluste der Sowjets. Wieder füllten sich die Gefangenenlager mit Tausenden von Bolschewisten und bedecken mit ihren wimmelnden Massen weiterhin das Gelände. PK-Aufnahme: Kriegsberichter Wahner 13.8.1942 [Herausgabedatum]
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.

Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Nazi crimes against Soviet Prisoners of War relates to the deliberately genocidal policies taken towards the captured soldiers of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany. These efforts resulted in some 3.3 to 3.5 million deaths, about 60% of all Soviet POWs.


During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union (USSR), and the subsequent German–Soviet War, millions of Red Army prisoners of war were taken. Some of them were arbitrarily executed in the field by the German forces, died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner of war camps and during ruthless death marches from the front lines, or were shipped to Nazi concentration camps for extermination.

Some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody out of 5.7 million. This figure represents a total of 57% of all Soviet POWs and may be contrasted with only 8,300 out of 231,000 British and American prisoners, or 3.6%. Nazi persecution of Soviet Prisoners of War. Some estimates range as high as 5 million dead, including those killed immediately after surrendering (an indeterminate, although certainly very large number). Only 5% of the Soviet prisoners who died were of Jewish ethnicity. Among those who died was Stalin's son, Yakov Dzhugashvili.

The most deaths took place between June 1941 and January 1942, when the Germans killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet POWs primarily through starvation, exposure, and summary execution, in what has been called, along with the Rwandan Genocide, an instance of "the most concentrated mass killing in human history (...) eclipsing the most exterminatory months of the Jewish Holocaust". By September 1941, the mortality rate among Soviet POWs was in the order of 1% per day. According to the USHMM, by the winter of 1941, "starvation and disease resulted in mass death of unimaginable proportions". This deliberate starvation, leading many desperate prisoners to resort to acts of cannibalism, was Nazi policy in spite of food being available, in accordance to the Hunger Plan developed by the Reich Minister of Food Herbert Backe.

By comparison, between 374,000 and 1 million German prisoners of war died in Soviet labor camps.

Commissar Order

The Commissar Order (German: Kommissarbefehl) was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. It demanded that any Soviet political commissar identified among captured troops be shot immediately; those prisoners who could be identified as "thoroughly bolshevized or as active representatives of the Bolshevist ideology" were also to be executed.

Prisoner-of-war camps

The prisoners were stripped of their supplies and clothing by ill-equipped German troops when the cold weather set in. This resulted in fatal consequences for the prisoners. The camps established specially for the Soviets were called Russenlager. In others, the Soviets were kept separated from the prisoners of other countries. The Allied regulars kept by Germany were usually treated in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention (signed by Germany but not by the Soviet Union).

In the case of the Soviet POWs, most of the camps were simply open areas fenced off with barbed wire and watchtowers with no housing. These meager conditions forced the crowded prisoners to live in holes they had dug for themselves, which were exposed to the elements. Beatings and other abuse by the guards were common, and prisoners were malnourished, often consuming only a few hundred calories per day. Medical treatment was nonexistent and a Red Cross offer to help in 1941 was rejected by Adolf Hitler. Some of these conditions were actually worse than those experienced by prisoners in the German concentration camps.

In the summer and fall/autumn of 1941 during the German invasion, vast numbers of Soviet prisoners were captured in about eleven different encirclements (so-called cauldrons). Due to the rapid advance and an expected quick victory, the Germans did not want to ship these prisoners back to Germany. Under the administration of the Wehrmacht the prisoners were processed, guarded, forced marched, or transported in open railcars. Much like the Bataan Death March, the treatment of prisoners was brutal, without much in the way of supporting logistics.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_crimes_against_Soviet_POWs. Links and footnote numbers removed.

[... photo 2 ...]
Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1979-113-04
Foto: Hübner | 28 Juli 1941
Wikipedia Caption:  Distribution of food in a POW camp near Vinnytsia, Ukraine. June 1941
Original historic description:  Ausgabe von Brot an gefangene Russen im Lager Winnica. 28.7.1941
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.

[... photo 3 ...]
Wikipedia Caption:  Naked Soviet prisoners of war in Mauthausen concentration camp.  Unknown date.
Original historic description:  Österreich.- Konzentrationslager Mauthausen, Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene vor der Baracke
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.

Germany is guilty of this war of destruction where 11 million of my fellow Ukrainians were murdered by the Germans. -- John Demjanjuk

[... photo 4a ...]
Germany's war of annihilation in the Soviet Union resulted in millions of civilian deaths.  Here six supposed partisans are executed in September 1941.

Photograph and bottom caption are from David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, p. 195.

And here is another group of six victims on the same assembly line, the volley having just been fired this time.  Behind the victims is a pit into which they fall after being shot.
[... photo 4b ...]
When the moaning from the pit becomes annoying, the officer steps forward and takes potshots at anyone he sees moving.
[... photo 4c ...]

Germans didn't just shoot Ukrainians, they also hanged them, and they hanged Russians and Belarusans and Poles and Czechs and other Slavs.
[... photo 5 ...]
Bundesarchiv, Bild 121-1154
Foto: o.Ang | 1941 August - September
[... photo 6 ...]
[... photo 7 ...]
Bundesarchiv, Bild 1011-287-0872-28A
Foto: Koll | 1941/1942

[... photo 8 ...]
[... photo 9 ...] The Ukraine, Kharkov, Main Street, 25 October 1941
[... photo 10 ...] Belorussia, in the streets of Minsk, 26 October 1941

To the Germans, hanging Slavs was not obeying a horrific command, it was having fun, at least once they got used to it, and they did get very used to it.
[... photo 11 ...]
[... photo 12 ...]

The victims were most often hanged in retaliation for some anti-German act committed by others, or for suspected partisan activity, or for refusing to work, but also for a long list of other crimes, among which could be a woman having sex with Germans, as in the following instance  www.charonboat.com~:
[... photo 13a ...]
[... photo 13b ...]
[... photo 13c ...]

Some German hangings of civilians can be followed step by step, but possibly none in such detail as in the case of the unknown girl in the photographs below around whose neck a sign has been hung, and with a bearded Kiril Trus standing to her right, and with a capped 16-year-old Volodia Shcherbatsevich standing to her left, in Minsk, Belarus on 26 Oct 1941.  It has been speculated that the unknown girl might be either Masha Bruskina or Shura Linevich or perhaps Natasha the assistant nurse who worked in the Minsk Military Hospital.  The sign reads We are partisans — we have shot at German soldiers.   www.charonboat.com/item/36
[... photo 14a ...]
[... photo 14b ...]
[... photo 14c ...]
[... photo 14d ...]
[... photo 14e ...]
[... photo 14f ...]
[... photo 14g ...]
[... photo 14h ...]

As German hanging of civilians was commonplace, there is no dearth of photographs, as for example the following set on the Yad Vashem web site, with it being useful to remember that "USSR" often means Ukraine, and that even "Russia" often means Ukraine:
[... 69 links to photos ...]

Ah, well, but not all German soldiers spent their time shooting people or hanging them.  Weren't most of them employed away from the violence in blameless activities, indistinguishable from everyday civilian activities, as perhaps in food procurement, as is exemplified in the photographs below, and which might easily be portrayed in a Hollywood movie as occupations blessed with conviviality, and sometimes even with hilarity, only accidentally parelleling the more distant horrors of war?  Wouldn't the Germans shown in these photographs have been affectionately honored by their comrades with the title scroungers?  Hollywood could be counted on not to omit the scene where the scroungers chase the squacking, flapping geese around the farmyard.  What fun!  If this is war, then why are so many of these German soldiers smiling?
[... photo 15a ...]
USSR, Soldiers from the German air force with fowls that were confiscated from local peasants.  yadvashem
[... photo 15b ...]
USSR, German soldiers and POW's by a field kitchen.  yadvashem
[... photo 15c ...]
USSR, German soldiers with sheep.  yadvashem
[... photo 15d ...]
USSR, German soldiers leading a confiscated cow.  yadvashem

And when it came to food stores, wouldn't the local farmers have been happy to share their supplies with the Germans whom they had welcomed as liberators and whose advanced culture they admired?
[... photo 16a ...]
USSR, Peasants with crops, February 1942.  yadvashem
[... photo 16b ...]
USSR, German soldiers seemingly confiscating food from the local inhabitants.  yadvashem

And soldiers not occupied with food procurement could easily occupy themselves with something like the blameless and nonviolent procurement of accomodation, and which might be regarded as paralleling the work of a realtor in civilian life, procurement of accomodation such as the following:
[... photo 17a ...]
USSR, A peasants hut used to quarter German soldiers, 29/09/1941.  yadvashem
[... photo 17b ...]
Poland, Wlosow, A peasants hut used to quarter German soldiers, 10/11/1941.  yadvashem

However, if the captions above have not begun to erode the upbeat patter, then perhaps the following analysis will:

The fabled spectre of campaigning through a Russian winter thus assumed a certain foreboding prominence, which loomed in the minds of many Landsers as the weather began to change.  Solomon Perel, who was travelling with a group of soldiers from the 12th Panzer Division, noted that the men "had not forgotten Napoleon's defeat in 1812 and ... [t]hey were scared out of their wits".  Another soldier wrote home on 21 September, "God save us from a winter campaign in the east.  It is very cold here already and rains practically every day."  Wilhelm Prüller wrote in his diary on 28 September that it was so cold he and his comrades had to sleep in their vehicles.  He then continued, "Terribly cold.  You can't wrap yourself in too many blankets.  When I think back on the July and August days, when we simply spent the nights lying in a field on the grass, I have to mourn for the summer...  And who knows what's in front of us as far as the weather goes?"  It was a prudent question, which held dire implications not only for the operational aspects of the campaign, but also for the war of annihilation.  With a chronic shortage of housing in the forward areas of the front, German soldiers ensured they were not the ones being left out in the cold.  As Wilhelm Prüller's diary records:

You should see the act the civilians put on when we make it clear to them that we intend to use their sties to sleep in.  A weeping and yelling begins, as if their throats were being cut, until we chuck them out.  Whether young or old, man or wife, they stand in their rags and tatters on the doorstep and can't be persuaded to go...  When we finally threaten them at pistol point, they disappear for a few minutes, only to return again yelling even more loudly.

While no one was freezing to death in September 1941, the Russian peasants knew better than anyone what was coming and knew that survival depended on shelter and stores of food for the coming winter.  Without access to these the weather would soon prove fatal for countless Soviet peasants.  In this indirect way Germany's war of annihilation involved average German soldiers to a far greater extent than is often acknowledged.  Between seventeen and eighteen million Soviet civilians died in the war with Nazi Germany and most of these died not as a direct result of a German action (that is, by being shot), but rather from the conditions created by the German army and occupational forces (starvation, disease, exposure, overwork, etc.).  Accordingly, however some historians may seek to "interpret" the circumstances or apply restrictive definitions to what constituted a war crime, the fact remains that the Ostheer and its soldiers, each to varying extents participated in and contributed to the conditions which resulted in the deaths of so many.  In this sense one must keep in mind that the well-known suffering of the German army during the winter fighting had even worse results for the civilian population, especially in the areas of heavy German troop concentrations.

David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, pp. 332-333.

And so John Demjanjuk speaks of eleven million of his fellow Ukrainians having been murdered by the Germans, and author David Stahel speaks of between seventeen and eighteen million Soviet civilians having died in the war, but the two sorts of murderers we have glanced at above, the firing-squad men and the hangmen, could not possibly have been responsible for that many deaths.  They were brutal killers, without question, and they killed vast numbers, and they deserve the deepest contempt and the harshest penality, and yet they could only have been the small-time killers.  The big-time killers in the German annihilation machine were those nonviolent Germans we saw just above, chasing geese around the farmyard, grabbing a sheep here and there, leading away a cow, carting away bags of wheat, slamming the door in a peasant's face.  It is these killers who made possible the holocaust of eleven million or seventeen or eighteen million deaths.

Murder is murder whether it is accomplished by shooting or hanging or starving or freezing.  Eighteen million murders is eighteen million murders whether those who were starved or frozen were thus deprived of life inside a barbed-wire perimeter or outside.  As the vast mortality figures demonstrate, confiscating a peasant's livestock and food store and house as winter approaches is indistinguishable in degree of harm from firing a bullet into his forehead.  Thousands of Germans alive today deserve to be prosecuted for war crimes before John Demjanjuk is prosecuted, starting with those above we saw murdering with rifles and nooses, but continuing on to those who snatched from others the food and the habitation that are needed to sustain life, and also to those who saw the snatching, and understood the death sentence it implied, but nevertheless sat inside the peasant's house and ate the peasant's food anyway.

But to return to the point from which we started, the narrower allocation of German guilt to murder within POW camps ...

Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive. -- John Demjanjuk

[... photo 18 ...]
Hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were taken in the aftermath of the battle of Kiev, but very few would survive captivity.   ullstein bild — Arthur Grimm.

Photograph and bottom caption are from David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, p. 305.

[... photo 19 of John Demjanjuk ...]
On John Demjanjuk’s behalf, the following Declaration was read in the German language by his attorney, Dr. Ulrich Busch, during the April 13th 2010 public court session in Munich, Germany.

DECLARATION of the accused to the criticism of the court and the prosecutors of his behaviour during the trial:

I am personally thankful to the people who are helping me in my hopeless position as a very ill person, be it in prison or here in the courtroom. Therefore, I especially thank the medical personnel who are very helpful in alleviating my major aches and pains and who help me to survive this trial which for me is torture. As a matter of fact, I point out the following:

1. Germany is guilty of the war of destruction against the Soviet Union through which I lost my home and homeland.

2. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a prisoner of war.

3. Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive.

4. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a slave labourer of the Germans in the prisoner of war camp.

5. Germany is guilty of this war of destruction where 11 million of my fellow Ukrainians were murdered by the Germans and more millions of Ukrainians, including my loving wife Vera, were abducted to Germany to forced labour and slavery by the Germans.

6. Germany is guilty of making thousands upon thousands of my countrymen unwilling German collaborators and forcing them to join in the perverse genocide program against Jews, Sinti, Roma, Slavs, Ukrainians, Poles and Russians under the threat of death as hundreds and more than hundreds that wanted to refuse this, were killed for that by the Germans. Over and above this, hundreds of thousands were deported to Ukraine and executed by Stalin or tortured for ages in the Siberian Gulag and lowered to work as slaves for the Communists.

7. Germany is guilty of forcing me to live a wretched life as a displaced person in a DP camp years after the war.

8. Germany is guilty of forcibly having me deported to Germany even after 30 years of legal prosecution in Israel, the USA, as well as, Poland and after more than 10 years of imprisonment, more than 5 of those in a death cell in Israel, at the end of my life and in my 90th year.

9. Germany is to blame for false charges of accessory to murder being levied against me at the end of my life when I am without life’s energy in violation of 65-year-old case law and also in violation of the EMRK (European Convention for Human Rights).

10. Germany is to blame for my having to vegetate more than 9 months in Stadelheim, in a prison, isolated, not free – though innocent.

11. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost my second homeland, the USA, without a chance to return.

12. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost the sense of my entire life, my family, my happiness and any kind of future and hope.

I have experienced every minute, every hour, every day, every week and every month since May 12, 2009 as a prisoner of war in Germany. I have experienced this process as a continuation of my terrible memories with Germans, as a continuation of the indescribable wrong which has been done to me by Germans. I am again and repeatedly an innocent victim of the Germans. I feel this as an inexpressible wrong that Germany with the help of this trial is making out of me, a prisoner of war, a war criminal. I find it an unbearable arrogance of Germany, that Germany is misusing me to turn the attention away from the war crimes committed by Germans, to make them forgotten and against the truth to claim that the true criminals of the Nazi crimes were me, the Ukrainians and the European neighbours of Nazi Germany.

I consider this trial, which is held exclusively against me, an alleged foreign Travniki, in violation of the principles of equal treatment as provided to German SS members and to an uncountable number of “German Travnikis”, incompatible with justice and the principle of equality. I have already defended myself against the accusation of the Munich prosecutor while in Israel. In Israel, I was accused of being connected to Nazi crimes in Sobibor. The Israeli Supreme Court specifically recognized that this accusation of the Israeli Prosecutor could not be proven, a legal verdict was decided on the Sobibor accusation in such a manner taking into account with special reference to the already suffered arrest of more than 7.5 years. I was jailed in Israel for these charges against me for 7.5 years with 5 of those years in a death cell.

I feel it is not compatible with fairness and humanity, that for over 35 years I have had to defend myself as a constantly chased legal victim of the Office of Special Investigation of the USA and the circles behind it, especially the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre which live off of the holocaust. Now at the end of my life and the end of my strength, the 30th or 40th trial in the same case is being made and I do not have the strength to fight. I am helpless against this judicial war waged against me for over 30 years which the Germans are now continuing against me in place of the OSI.

My beloved wife Vera, with whom I have been married for over 50 years, also suffered in Germany. It was the Germans who deprived my wife of her youth and took her by force to Germany for years of forced labor. She was for years in German slave labor under cruel and inhumane conditions.

The suffering that we endured in connection with the German war of annihilation against us Slavs is not describable in measurable words. That Germany has again and again chosen me and my family to be victimized is, for me, incomprehensible.

John Demjanjuk

Jaroslaw:  19Jan2012 at 22:49
Yes put the Biased PRESS on trial for denying or poisoning the right to a FAIR impartial trial. Have they ever reported this way on ANY other defendant BEFORE a verdict has been rendered or do they only pick and choose those that they want to convict by biased reporting? Let a jury decide if this propaganda rag was professional and objective OR only selected biased bits and pieces of interviews and other sources ("evidence") in order to slant. Did they EVER find or report on any "witnesses" who LIED in Germany, Israel or Russia? This should be easy to compare -- just compare the coverage of different political favorites and slants!

Vitalij:  19Jan2012 at 17:07
I like it.