Alleged Nazi Guard Deported: Demjanjuk Lands in Munich
Flight N250LB landed in Munich on Tuesday, finally bringing the alleged war criminal John Demjanjuk to Germany after his long-drawn-out bid to fight deportation from the US. He will now face what is in all likelihood Germany's last big Nazi trial.
It is the end of long and bitter legal battle: The alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk has finally landed in Germany after months of fighting his deportation from the US. The 89-year-old landed at Munich airport on Tuesday morning. He could now face the last big Nazi trial in Germany.
Demjanjuk finally lost his battle to avoid deportation from the US on Monday afternoon when an ambulance arrived at his home in Cleveland, Ohio and brought him to the airport. The state prosecutor in Munich had issued a warrant for his arrest in March, accusing him of having been an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Demjanjuk claims he was a Red Army soldier captured by the Nazis and never harmed anyone. However, German prosecutors say they have documents showing that he served as an SS guard at the death camp.
The ambulance was accompanied by three US immigration officials and Demjanjuk's family attempted to shield him from the public view by holding a blanket in front of him as he was carried into the ambulance on a stretcher.
The Ukranian-born Demjanjuk was formally deported at the US immigration office in Cleveland and then flown from Burke Lakefront Airport in a specially chartered aircraft to Germany.
On Monday the 89-year-old suffered another legal defeat when a court in Berlin-Brandenburg rejected his lawyer's attempt to force the Berlin government to withdraw its agreement to accept Demjanjuk in Germany. Demjanjuk has been stateless since the US stripped him of his citizenship in 2002 and the court ruled that a decision on whether he can be allowed to stay in Germany could also be made after his arrival in the country. The court also ruled that it was not up to the German authorities to decide if he was fit to travel.
Demjanjuk's bid to avoid deportation became increasingly desperate. Dramatic photos last month showed Demjanjuk in apparent pain as he was removed by immigration officials in an early attempt to deport him. However, the US government then released images of him taken only days earlier that showed him walking unaided to his car.
Charlotte Knobloch, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the ARD television station on Monday that Demjanjuk needs to be brought to trial. "War crimes of the kind Demjanjuk has been accused of do not fall under the statute of limitations," she said. "I hope he receives the punishment he deserves."
-- with wire reports
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