John Demjaniuk on trial in Munich, Germany

John Demjaniuk's attorney, Dr. Ulrich Busch, yesterday read out a two page statement on behalf of his client to a Munich courtroom questioning the legitmacy of the prosecution's case. Demjaniuk, who is 90 and was born in Ukraine, asserted that it was Germany, as the country that had started the Second World War, that should be standing trial. It was the first such statement that the defendant has made in court since proceedings began at the end of November last year.

Demjaniuk is on trial accused of being an accessory to murder of up to 27,900 captives in the Nazi death camp of Sobibor, situated near Lublin, south east Poland. The prosecution alleges that he personally, as a camp guard, pushed thousands of Jews and others into gas chambers during the Second World War.  Demjaniuk vehemently denies the charges and has stated that he is the victim of mistaken identity.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, Rolf Kleidermann, an attorney representing the families of victims of the Holocaust, said that the statement shows that Demjanjuk is still showing no remorse and lacks understanding.  He said that "the defendant did not say a word about the Nazis' victims".

The prosecution argues that Demjaniuk, a Soviet Red Army soldier, was captured by the Germans in 1942 and volunteered to serve under the SS as a camp guard.  Demjaniuk, however, denies ever having served as a guard, saying that he spent most of the rest of the war in Nazi POW camps before joining the so-called Vlasov Army of anti-communist Soviet POWs and others. That army was formed to fight with the Germans against the encroaching Soviets in the final months of the war. (AP)

A key piece of the prosecution's evidence in the trial against Demjaniuk is a Nazi ID card that allegedly shows he served time in Sobibor. His defence, however, maintains that the ID card is a fake. (AP)

An expert witness testified yesterday that his analysis of the photograph on the card is that it is "with high probability" Demjanjuk in the picture.  He stressed, however, that he was not qualified to judge whether the photos, provided by Israeli and U.S. archives, were genuine. (AP)

The trial is scheduled to continue today.

The following is John Demjaniuk's full (unedited) statement, entitled "Declaration of the accused": 

I am personally thankful to the people who are helping me in my hopeless position as a very ill person, be it in prison or here in the courtroom. Therefore, I especially thank the medical personnel who are very helpful in alleviating my major aches and pains and who help me to survive this trial which for me is torture.  As a matter of fact, I point out the following:

1. Germany is guilty of the war of destruction against the Soviet Union through which I lost my home and homeland.

2. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a prisoner of war.

3. Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive.

4. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a slave labourer of the Germans in the prisoner of war camp.

5. Germany is guilty of this war of destruction where 11 million of my fellow Ukrainians were murdered by the Germans and more millions of Ukrainians, including my loving wife Vera, were abducted to Germany to forced labour and slavery by the Germans.

6. Germany is guilty of making thousands upon thousands of my countrymen unwilling German collaborators and forcing them to join in the perverse genocide program against Jews, Sinti, Roma, Slavs, Ukrainians, Poles and Russians under the threat of death as hundreds and more than hundreds that wanted to refuse this, were killed for that by the Germans.  Over and above this, hundreds of thousands were deported to Ukraine and executed by Stalin or tortured for ages in the Siberian Gulag and lowered to work as slaves for the Communists.

7. Germany is guilty of forcing me to live a wretched life as a displaced person in a DP camp years after the war.

8. Germany is guilty of forcibly having me deported to Germany even after 30 years of legal prosecution in Israel, the USA, as well as, Poland and after more than 10 years of imprisonment, more than 5 of those in a death cell in Israel, at the end of my life and in my 90th year.

9. Germany is to blame for false charges of accessory to murder being levied against me at the end of my life when I am without life’s energy in violation of 65-year-old case law and also in violation of the EMRK (European Convention for Human Rights).

10. Germany is to blame for my having to vegetate more than 9 months in Stadelheim, in a prison, isolated, not free – though innocent.

11. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost my second homeland, the USA, without a chance to return.

12. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost the sense of my entire life, my family, my happiness and any kind of future and hope.

I have experienced every minute, every hour, every day, every week and every month since May 12, 2009 as a prisoner of war in Germany.  I have experienced this process as a continuation of my terrible memories with Germans, as a continuation of the indescribable wrong which has been done to me by Germans.  I am again and repeatedly an innocent victim of the Germans.  I feel this as an inexpressible wrong that Germany with the help of this trial is making out of me, a prisoner of war, a war criminal. I find it an unbearable arrogance of Germany, that Germany is misusing me to turn the attention away from the war crimes committed by Germans, to make them forgotten and against the truth to claim that the true criminals of the Nazi crimes were me, the Ukrainians and the European neighbours of Nazi Germany.

I consider this trial, which is held exclusively against me, an alleged foreign Travniki, in violation of the principles of equal treatment as provided to German SS members and to an uncountable number of “German Travnikis”, incompatible with justice and the principle of equality.  I have already defended myself against the accusation of the Munich prosecutor while in Israel.  In Israel, I was accused to be connected to Nazi crimes in Sobibor. The Israeli Supreme Court specifically recognized that this accusation of the Israeli Prosecutor could not be proven, a legal verdict was decided on the Sobibor accusation in such a manner taking into account with special reference to the already suffered arrest of more than 7 ½ years.  I was jailed in Israel for these charges against me for 7 ½ years with 5 of those years in a death cell.

I feel it is not compatible with fairness and humanity, that for over 35 years I have had to defend myself as a constantly chased legal victim of the Office of Special Investigation of the USA and the circles behind it, especially the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre which live off of the holocaust.  Now at the end of my life and the end of my strength, the 30th or 40th trial in the same case is being made and I do not have the strength to fight.  I am helpless against this judicial war waged against me for over 30 years which the Germans are now continuing against me in place of the OSI.

My beloved wife Demjanjuk, with which I have been married for over 50 years, also suffered in Germany. It was the Germans who deprived my wife of her youth and took her by force to Germany for years of forced labor. She was for years in German slave labor under cruel and inhumane conditions.

The suffering that we endured in connection with the German war of annihilation against us Slavs was done and is not describable in measurable words. That Germany has again and again chosen me and my family to be victimized is, for me, incomprehensible.


Ukrayinska Dumka


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