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A measure of justice (NEW YORK POST EDITORIAL) 03/20/12)Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/measure_of_justice_yZHvoecUvBRFn0MsnyZvzJ NEW YORK POST NEW YORK POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
John Demjanjuk may not have been behind bars when he died last weekend, but he stood convicted in a German court of complicity in the deaths of 27,900 Jewish prisoners at Nazi concentration camps.

Born in Ukraine, Demjanjuk came to America after the war, became a US citizen and raised a family in Cleveland.

In 1976, the Justice Department filed charges, based on the testimony of Holocaust survivors, naming him as Ivan the Terrible — who operated the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp, where a million Jews were slaughtered.

Tried in Israel and sentenced to death, he was eventually exonerated by the Israeli Supreme Court, based on then-newly available documents from both Soviet and West German archives. But the same documents made clear that, while he hadn’t worked at Treblinka, he had been a guard at other camps: Sobibor, Majdanek, Flossenburg.

The documents also shattered his alibi of having been a POW at the time.

But no one could testify that they had seen Demjanjuk commit murder.

Still, his role as a guard where Jewish victims had been murdered en masse was deemed sufficient proof of guilt.

Demjanjuk was no Adolf Eichmann; he was one of the many mostly nameless cogs without whom the Nazi wheel of genocide could not have taken millions of lives.

He spent seven years in an Israeli prison before his release — itself a measure of justice — and had his US citizenship revoked.

John Demjanjuk also spent the last 35 of his 91 years in one court or another; he may not have paid fully for his crimes — but he was nonetheless held to account. (Copyright 2012 NYP Holdings, Inc. 03/20/12)


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