AKA Iwan Demjanjuk
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Location of death: Bad Feilnbach, Germany
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Criminal, Victim
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Retired auto worker convicted for Nazi past
Military service: Soviet Army (1940)
Formerly in the Red Army, John Demjanjuk volunteered for the German SS and became a Wachman at Sobibor concentration camp. He somehow managed to emigrate to and live in the United States after 1951, and in Cleveland after 1958. On 25 June 1981 a Federal count stripped Demjanjuk of his US citizenship because he obtained it under false pretenses, namely, hiding the fact that he had worked in German concentration camps, and infamously been known as "Ivan the Terrible". In 1986 he was extradited to Israel, and was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death there in 1988. Things thus seemed fairly tidy, the matter settled.
But Demjanjuk was freed of his death sentence several years later when evidence surfaced that he was the victim of mistaken identity. Apparently instead of volunteering for the SS, he was held prisoner in a forced labor camp by the Nazis in Poland. The guard, "Ivan the Terrible", was in fact some other individual. And the judge who ruled that Demjanjuk was Ivan, Gilbert Merritt, said that he felt that Demjanjuk was conspiratorially deprived of his constitutional rights by the federal government's deliberate withholding of evidence in his favor. One of the individuals primarily responsible for the original prosecution of Demjanjuk, OSI attorney Neal Sher, was disbarred after he was found embezzling from a Holocaust foundation. Demjanjuk regained his US citizenship in 1998, but again, the matter was far from settled.
Demjanjuk was brought up on completely unrelated charges in 1999, when the Justice Department charged that instead of being "Ivan the Terrible," he had worked as a guard at a concentration camp in Germany and at two concentration camps in German-occupied Poland during World War II. He was convicted and re-stripped of US citizenship in 2004, and after appealing unsuccessfully to the US Supreme Court, he was deported to Germany in 2009. 91 years old and wheelchair-bound, Demjanjuk was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder, for deaths that occurred at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in 1943, while he was allegedly employed as a guard there. He maintained his innocence until his death in 2012.
Wife: Vera (m. 1-Sep-1947)
Daughter: Lydia (b. Apr-1950)
Son: John, Jr.
Ford Motors Brook Park, OH
Taken Prisoner of War
Naturalized US Citizen 14-Nov-1958
Citizenship Revoked (1977)
Extradited from the United States to Israel (1986)
Escaped Death Sentence
Hunger Strike Ramle, Israel (1-Mar-1993)
Crimes Against Humanity reversed on appeal (1993)
Citizenship restored (1998)
Citizenship Revoked (2002)
Deported from the US to Germany (11-May-2009)
Murder Accessory; 28,060 counts (convicted, 12-May-2011)
Risk Factors: Gout
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