US Worries Demjanjuk Grave May Spawn Neo-Nazi Shrine

Family wants convicted Nazi war criminal buried in Ohio
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 9:28 AM CDT
In this May 11, 2011 file photo, John Demjanjuk arrives at the court building in Munich.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

(Newser) – John Demjanjuk's family wants the convicted Nazi war criminal buried in Ohio, where he settled after the war, but Jewish advocates worry that his grave could become a neo-Nazi shrine. "For neo-Nazis, I think it's entirely possible that a Demjanjuk grave becomes a monument to the alleged evils of the Jews," a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center tells the AP. Demjanjuk was deported and his US citizenship revoked, but the US attorney's office says there is no prohibition against returning his body to the US for burial.

"I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who's the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly," says a leader at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Demjanjuk's lawyer has asked German authorities to send the body to Ohio, and if burial arrangements are made there, services would likely be held at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Demjanjuk's church, which has consistently supported his innocence. (In slightly more bizarre Nazi news, The Week has a rundown of the Hollywood retreat meant for Adolf Hitler.)

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