Demjanjuk Farce Is a Funny Kind of Justice

Prosecution seems to be more about German guilt than alleged war criminal's
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2009 5:19 AM CDT
Demjanjuk Farce Is a Funny Kind of Justice
In this Feb. 28, 2005 file photo, John Demjanjuk arrives at the federal building in Cleveland for an immigration hearing.    (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

(Newser) – The world's eyes will be on alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk when he stands trial in Germany next month, but this dying old man is a strange candidate to be the last Nazi to be tried, writes Scott Raab. Demjanjuk—regardless of whether he is guilty of serving at the Sobibor death camp when he was a POW—isn't a Nazi or even a German, writes Raab in Esquire, and it seems farcical that the Germans, of all people, are now making him the face of the Holocaust.

"As a Jew, my heart does not bleed for this old Ukrainian," stresses Raab, whose research took him to Israel, Germany, and the village where Demjanjuk was drafted into the Red Army as a teen. But the truth seems impossible to pin down, writes Raab, noting that Nazi-hunters who swore Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible at his trial in Israel will now swear he was somebody else. For justice to be as just as possible, Raab writes, it needs to be as close to truth as possible. "Anything else—anything less—dishonors every one of us, including the six million who died."  (Read more Sobibor stories.)

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