'Nazi guard' threatens hunger strike

2011-02-22 15:19

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.

  • Sisie - 2011-02-22 15:26

    Oh good .....let the f***** kill himself slowly - why waste money on a degenerate!

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-02-22 15:33

      He has not even been found guilty yet. Or must ALL white people die?

      Stevie - 2011-02-22 16:48

      Your lack of faith in the justice system is your undoing.

      Irené - 2011-02-22 16:52

      VAALDONKIE you hateful sad man- you brought up the race card. How is this about race again? twat

  • ayankabs - 2011-02-22 15:32

    Let him!!!

  • sbouttell - 2011-02-22 15:36

    His seriously ill health and intense suffering can only be attributed to one thing; Karma can be a real mother f**ker some days.

      Sythe - 2011-02-22 15:56

      or perhaps old age.

      dante - 2011-02-22 15:57

      so the fact that people die before the age of 90 can only be attributed to bad karma? just think before you write my friend

  • ? - 2011-02-22 15:58

    What nonsense.If the man was a guard,that doesnt make him responsible for the deaths of people. People are extremely bitter and cant move on with life,because of something very important: They couldnt get Hitler,because he committed suicide,and now they turn their attention to this poor man. My prayers and heart go out to former SS guards and their families during these difficult times.

      Mr Hobbit - 2011-02-22 16:02

      Are you insane?

      ? - 2011-02-22 16:04

      Im not insane. Its quite obvious that this is a witch hunt from people and organisations such as the simon wiesenthal center

      Mr Hobbit - 2011-02-22 16:41

      So your good wishes go out to former SS guards that slaughtered innocent women and children? You're OK with that?

      goyougoodthing - 2011-02-22 16:46

      Completely. A witch hunt because Jews want revenge even though they commit humanitarian crimes themselves. Let him be, the man is 90.

      Homo-Sapien - 2011-02-22 16:47

      @ ? You have a good point, people jump the gun too quickly whenever they hear the word SS or Nazi. Not all were the same.

      Zanu - 2011-02-22 18:31

      your an idiot! may all SS men (including this pathetic F%^@*) die and burn in hell 4 eva, all other German army officials who did not take part in the mass murder can go to heaven if God wants. But not SS... Scum of the earth, animals in uniform who knew exactly who, what and how to mass kill civilians, millions of children, millions of women, Jews, Gays, Mentally ill, communists and great German hero’s who tried to save a life

      ? - 2011-02-22 19:38

      When people here the letters "ss" they think of evil,but only some SS peeps killed people. The British empire killed much more people in its former colonies across the globe,but do we hear the cries of blacks,native americans,maoris,coloureds,pakistanis? No we dont,we only hear cries from jews (all the time). Its a witch hunt,thats all that it is,witch hunt to prosecute innocent people,because they hate the fact that they never got their hands on Hitler,Bormann and Goebbels.The Nurnberg trials would have been used to humiliate those three in front of Germany,and because of their obsession with Hitler,they would have hung Bormann and Goebbels while sentencing Hitler to life in jail,as done with Rudolph Hess.

      Edynot - 2011-02-23 09:35

      Hobbit, your name says it all littleman... The GUARDS were not the ones doing the killing... They were simply following orders and mostly carried the rank of a private or Corporal, at most a Hauptmann... The SS in fact were seen mostly as superior soldiers, better trained than most, some may say they were something like the airborne (Altho Germany had their own Falchrimjagers) So Hobbit, please stop being a dumbass, go post on youtube or go update your facebook status or something...

      John - 2011-02-23 10:36

      I am disgusted by your comments. I am not Jewish but thinks this man deserves the daeth penalty.

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-02-22 16:01

    My grandfather died at Auschwitz. He fell out of the guardtower.

      ? - 2011-02-22 16:14

      According to the manpower act of 1935,death on the job results in a 20 million euro pay out. Better get your sheld a.s.a.p

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-02-22 16:33

      LOL. I'm consideringa land claim against Germany because my ancestors owned all the german land as well as Prussia and Normandy before the Enlightened chased them off. - 2011-02-22 17:02

      My Oupa to must have been drinking together was told he was a true hero but that snups got to him that night. LOL

      Zanu - 2011-02-22 18:41

      Karma... like a boomarang sadly, u will prob experience a death of a loved one in the near future, a mother... maybe ur dad, sister or brother, or even a child, maybe all the fam in one hectic car accident with a texi. Poetic justice if the death is from a great fall, like off a cliff. pampoen

  • Mr Hobbit - 2011-02-22 16:03

    If the Israeli Supreme Court don't think he is the man, what are the Germans doing here?

      Stevie - 2011-02-22 16:44

      Scapegoat = easy political points.

  • MACKAROONEY - 2011-02-22 16:19

    it over ,let him go !

  • Valdi - 2011-02-22 16:31

    Let him

  • Homo-Sapien - 2011-02-22 16:35

    He is an old man, let him die in peace at home! Forgive and forget...

      Observer - 2011-02-22 22:15

      Are you for real? Wow - forgive and forget. I hope you apply this mantra to everything. No doubt you have forgiven Bob for all he's done to Zim? Or you can forgive JZ for anything he's done? What about if someone held your family at gunpoint? While in a way I do admire the sentiment, sometimes some things should NOT be forgiven, nor forgotten. It would be precisely this kind of action that can/will lead to further similar events. Let's not forget that over the years there has also been horrific genocide happening in Africa (Rwanda to cite an example) - do we forgive and forget there? thinks not.

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-02-23 08:25

      Nelson Mandela is allowed to die in peace at his home.

  • goyougoodthing - 2011-02-22 16:48

    And putting 'Nazi Guard' in inverted commas does not change the sensationalist nature of this headline. Suspected or accused Nazi Guard perhaps...

  • The Patriot - 2011-02-22 16:50

    A hunger strike? Didnt work in the death camps.

  • - 2011-02-22 16:59

    He has to answer for what he has done not to us but God and those who he allegerly killed once he dies. I hope the truth will proval for some closure on those so very fiew left.

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