Sunday, April 04, 2010
Demjanjuk War Crimes Show Trial Is Never Ending Saga
Munich, Germany—After months of prosecuting, John Demjanjuk who stands accused of being a Sobibor death camp guard there’s little to show for the effort. So far no living witness has been produced to place the retired Cleveland auto worker at the camp.
Witnesses have testified that Ukrainians like Demjanjuk were forced to serve the Nazi’s under the threat of execution if they refused. That’s hardly evidence that Demjanjuk had done anything wrong at all.
The “smoking gun” evidence is an identity card. Another identity card produced by agents of the U.S. Office of Special Investigations seemed to show that Demjanjuk was the notorious, Ivan the Terrible at yet another camp. That card was later proven to be a total forgery during Demjanjuk’s appeal from an Israeli death sentence. Demjanjuk was cleared of that allegation.
Demjanjuk is accused of being an accessory to the murders of nearly 28,000 people confined at Sobibor.
This trial seems to be a German government effort of post World War Two Holocaust cleansing. They simply don’t want to appear unwilling to aggressively and passionately pursue war criminals. War crime accusations are not trivial offenses.
Now prosecutors say that they can’t wrap up their case until mid September. Demjanjuk, 89 has been appearing in court from a hospital bed because the elderly defendant is very weak and ill.
In the end I don’t expect prosecutors will be able to produce enough evidence to sustain a conviction.
I’d like nothing better than to cover and report on this trial in person or be aiding the defense team. It would be a great way to spend my summer.