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Demjanjuk Convicted for Role in Nazi Death Camp

Retired Ohio autoworker sentenced to five years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2011 7:20 AM CDT
Demjanjuk Convicted for Role in Nazi Death Camp
John Demjanjuk arrives at the court in Munich, southern Germany, on Thursday, May 12, 2011.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

(Newser) – John Demjanjuk, the retired Ohio autoworker charged with 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp, was convicted and sentenced today to five years in prison. Demjanjuk, a native of Ukraine, was accused of being a guard at Nazi-occupied Poland's Sobibor camp where thousands died. There was no evidence he committed a specific crime. The prosecution was based on the theory that if Demjanjuk was at the camp, he was a participant in the killing—the first time such a legal argument has been made in German courts.

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The 91-year-old, who showed no emotion as the verdict was announced, insists he fought against the Germans as a Soviet soldier, and was captured and held as a POW before joining a force of anti-communist Soviet POWs to fight with the Germans toward the end of the war. His defense has pledged to appeal, the AP reports. Click for more background on Demjanjuk. (Read more John Demjanjuk stories.)

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