March 12, 2009 in Nation/World

Man accused of Nazi war crimes

Washington Post
 

German prosecutors said Wednesday they have issued an arrest warrant for an 88-year-old retired autoworker in Ohio, charging him with complicity in the murder of thousands of people at a Nazi death camp six decades ago.

Prosecutors in Munich charged John Demjanjuk, a native Ukrainian who emigrated to the United States in 1952, with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder. U.S. and German authorities allege that Demjanjuk worked in 1943 as a Nazi guard at the Sobibor concentration camp in what is present-day Polish territory.

If Demjanjuk is transferred to Munich, his case could mark Germany’s final major Nazi war-crimes trial.

Demjanjuk’s family has maintained his innocence and argued that he is suffering from kidney and blood disorders and is too ill to survive the rigors of a lengthy prosecution in another country.

Demjanjuk has beaten efforts to prosecute him in the past. In 1986, the United States extradited him to Israel, where he was sentenced to death on charges that he had been a Nazi guard known as Ivan the Terrible at the Treblinka concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. But he was freed on appeal in 1993 after evidence emerged that investigators had confused him with another Ukrainian guard.

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