The trial of John Demjanjuk on charges of accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews as a Nazi death camp guard was called off for the day today after a doctor determined he was too ill to come to court. Presiding Judge Ralph Alt said the doctor examined Demjanjuk, 89, in a prison hospital two hours before the session was due to begin, and determined that he had a fever caused by an unidentified infection. The fever continued to rise despite medication, and the doctor decided it was not safe to transport him to court, Alt said.
"This chamber has determined not to proceed because it is not that the defendant does not want to come, but that he cannot come," Alt said. The day was to have featured more testimony, which began yesterday, from some of the approximately 40 relatives of victims who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs as allowed under the German legal system. An attorney for about 30 of them said his clients were "slightly frustrated" by the decision, but would tell their stories another day.