Nazi 'Wachmann' Charged with 29,000 Counts of Murder


And it only takes one. Germany is issuing a warrant for a retired autoworker who lives in Ohio, says the Washington Post. John Demjanjuk, who is 88 years old, is charged with being an accessory to the murder of 29,000 people. Allegedly, Demjanjuk was a Nazi guard, or wachmann, at Sobibor, a Jewish concentration camp, during the Holocaust. This doesn't come as a huge surprise, however, as Demjanjuk has been battling the courts for 30 years to keep from being punished for his alleged atrocities.

Demjanjuk came to the United States after the war and became a naturalized citizen. According to Timothy McCormack in "The Law of War Crimes," by the late '70s, authorities began proceedings to revoke this citizenship after evidence arose that he was a Nazi at a concentration camp during the war and failed to mention this in his application. In 1986, the United States handed him over to Israel, who wanted to try him. Israeli courts convicted him based on the testimony of many Holocaust survivors who identified him as the Nazi guard known as "Ivan the Terrible." ...Just that name makes me shudder.

He was back in circulation again in 1993, however, when new evidence emerged that suggested he may not have been the notorious Ivan. Israel acquitted him and he came back the United States.

My bet is that if the U.S. courts thought Israel had jurisdiction in this case (based on "universality of jurisdiction" when it comes to "war crimes and crimes against humanity," says McCormack), then they'll be more than happy to boot him back to Germany.

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UPDATE: Despite claims that he was too sick to travel and face trial, the U.S. decided to deport Demjanjuk, who arrived in Germany on May 12, 2009.