'Nazi guard' threatens hunger strike

2011-02-22 15:19
Accused John Demjanjuk holds a plate with the figure "1627" as he arrives in a wheelchair for his trial in the courtroom in Munich. (Lukas Barth, AFP)

Accused John Demjanjuk holds a plate with the figure "1627" as he arrives in a wheelchair for his trial in the courtroom in Munich. (Lukas Barth, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Munich - John Demjanjuk, a 90-year-old accused of helping to murder 27 900 Jews during his alleged time as a Nazi death camp guard, threatened on Tuesday to go on hunger strike, as his trial neared an end.

In a surprise development, his lawyer Ulrich Busch read out a rare statement from the accused, in which he dismissed the Munich court case as a "political show trial".

"There is only one path open to me: To show the world what a mockery of justice this trial is," said the statement.

"Unless the court does not accept the historical facts and does not... search for justice instead of carrying out a political show trial, I will begin a hunger strike within the next two weeks," Demjanjuk added.

He called on the court to admit evidence that the defence says will cast doubt on allegations he was a guard at the Nazi death camp Sobibor between March and September 1943.

Prosecutors were due on Tuesday to begin their closing arguments, but Busch entered a series of motions that delayed the trial.

Years-long fight

The accused entered the court in a wheelchair, wearing his now trademark sunglasses and carrying a small sign showing the figure "1627", the document number of the Soviet KGB files the defence says would clear him.

The court in the southern city of Munich could come to a verdict as early as March 22, although many observers expect a further delay. Demjanjuk, who denies the charges, faces 15 years behind bars if convicted.

Demjanjuk has been fighting to clear his name for decades.

He was previously found guilty in Israel of being "Ivan the Terrible", a particularly sadistic death camp guard at another Nazi camp, Treblinka, but released after the Israeli Supreme Court established they had the wrong man.

The Munich trial, which opened in November 2009 in a blaze of publicity, has meandered slowly to a conclusion, with several delays due to Demjanjuk's health and defence motions. There have been around 80 sessions since the case opened.

Demjanjuk's trial has focused around two central questions: Was he a guard at Sobibor in Nazi-occupied Poland and if so, could he have refused to assist the Nazi death machine?

Health played a role

As no one can identify Demjanjuk, experts have examined an identity card prosecutors say show he was posted to Sobibor but have failed to prove his signature is on the card or that the card is genuine, argues the defence.

The health of the accused has also played a major role in the trial. Demjanjuk's family say he suffers from a litany of illnesses and he appears in court either in a wheelchair or on a stretcher.

Court sessions have been limited to two periods of 90 minutes per day to prevent Demjanjuk getting too tired but even then, several court sessions have been postponed after he complained of headaches, pain or dizziness.

But a court doctor said his health was better now than when he was deported from the United States to Germany in 2009.

"He is stable and receives regular treatment. In the prison hospital, there are eight doctors at his disposal. He gets better treatment than he would do in a care home," said Albrecht Stein

He gets a blood transfusion on average once a month, added the doctor.

"He has always been very polite and correct with me. I have no complaints," he said.

In his statement, Demjanjuk accused Germany of blaming him for Holocaust.

"Now, as my life comes to an end, Germany - the country that murdered millions of innocent people cruelly and without mercy - has destroyed my dignity, my soul, my spirit and my life with a political show trial," he said.

Read more on:    germany  |  nazi crimes
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
33 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.