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23 Sivan 5768 - June 26, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Germany to Ask US to Extradite Demjanjuk

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Justice Ministry in Berlin is slated to ask the US to extradite Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, 88, who is suspected of taking part in the mass murder of Jews while serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

"German authorities are convinced they have enough evidence to convict Demjanjuk of murder. If we weren't certain he can be convicted we wouldn't ask for his extradition," said Kurt Schrimm, a top German prosecutor who specializes in Holocaust crimes.

Two of his aides went to Washington to conduct an investigation and after examining Demjanjuk's legal file they were convinced there's enough evidence to secure a conviction. Schrimm noted Demjanjuk is expected to be classified as a ranking Nazi official and that he hopes to conduct the trial before all of the witnesses pass away.

Schrimm was unwilling to describe the new evidence in his possession or reveal the number of victims Demjanjuk allegedly murdered.

Germany can only hold Demjanjuk on trial for murder, the only World War II-era crime for which the statute of limitations has not elapsed.

In 1986 the Ukraine native was extradited from the US to Israel on suspicions he was Ivan the Terrible, a guard at the Treblinka death camp known for sadistically tormenting and killing Jewish children.

Demjanjuk claims he was in the Soviet army and was captured by the Germans in 1942.

He was sentenced to death in Israel, but the High Court acquitted him based on reasonable doubt as to the identification of him as Ivan the Terrible. It noted that he was apparently guilty of other war crimes but they were not the subject of the trial.

The US recently decided to strip him of his US citizenship, but he cannot be deported until another country seeks to extradite him. The options are Israel, based on the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators Law (5710-1950), the Ukraine, where he argues he would be mistreated, Poland, where the crimes were perpetrated, or Germany, in whose service he committed the crimes.

According to Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, there are allegations from a fellow guard that Demjanjuk played "an active part in the mass murder of Jews deported to the Sobibor death camp" and Demjanjuk remains second on the Center's most-wanted list of Nazi war criminals.


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