Demjanjuk Deportation Stayed

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JERUSALEM (JTA)–A U.S. Immigration judge granted the elimination of a deportation sentencing for convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk.

Demjanjuk, an 89-year-old retired auto worker, had his United States citizenship taken away in 2002 because he lied about his Nazi past as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. He was scheduled to be deported from the United States back to Germany on Sunday.

Germany had requested his exile in order to try him on an indictment that includes approximately 29,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Judge Wayne Iskra ruled Friday night that Demjanjuk may remain in his suburban Cleveland home while Iskra rules on whether deporting Demjanjuk back to Germany would be torturous—a claim set forth by the family. The family claimed that Demjanjuk is too old and sick to travel, according to reports. The judge’s decision may take days or months to issue.

Demjanjuk was accused in the early 1980s of being the notorious “Ivan the Terrible” at Poland’s Treblinka death camp. As a Nazi guard, Ivan earned his identity by ushering thousands of prisoners—sometimes hacking them with a sword as they passed—into the gas chamber at Treblinka. He then vanished after the war, but in the 1970s, U.S. investigators suspected John Demjanjuk, and placed him in an Israeli jail. He was released after seven years, when he could not be identified as “Ivan” beyond doubt.

The U.S. Justice Department later reported that due to his lying about his Nazi past in order to obtain U.S. citizenship, Demjanjuk was liable for deportation after his identity as a Sobibor guard was revealed.

The Munich court said it relied heavily on material provided by the U.S. Office of Special Investigations in order to make its prosecution decision.

A native Ukrainian, John (born Ivan) Demjanjuk said he was conscripted into the Red Army in 1940 and captured by the Nazis in 1942. Prosecutors say he volunteered for the German SS and was trained as a camp guard. Substantial evidence placed Demjanjuk at a Nazi camp.

After numerous battles and reopening of his cases, he has since fought an ongoing battle against U.S. authorities seeking to deport him. The charges brought against him in Germany this month were triggered by recently obtained lists of Jews transported to Sobibor during Demjanjuk’s alleged tenure at the camp in 1943.

 

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