John Demjanjuk's trial in Munich approaches closure

Rob Fransman, whose parents were killed at Sobibor gas chamber in 1943, deems Demjanjuk’s silence a “posthumous insult of the victims.”

By JPOST CORRESPONDENT
May 11, 2011 04:33
1 minute read.
Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk

John Demjanjuk 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)

BERLIN – The trial of alleged Nazi concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk, which began in late 2009, meanders its way to closure in Munich, with an expected verdict on Thursday.

Demjanjuk’s defense attorney, Ulrich Busch, argued on Tuesday during closing arguments that there are possibly “six or seven Demjanjuks,” opening up the line of reasoning that it is a case of mistaken identity. According to Busch, the multiple descriptions of Demjanjuk during the course of the trial raise doubts on the assertion that his client committed mass murder.

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Demjanjuk is charged with accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland. Busch argued that the German authorities should dismiss the charges because the crimes took place in Poland, and the authorities in Poland did not pursue a criminal prosecution against Demjanjuk.

According to a Tagesspiegel report, shortly before being brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, Demjanjuk said, “I am not Hitler. What is wrong with you?”

It was unclear if he slept during the trial or was consciously following the hearings with his eyes shut.

A Ukrainian interpreter translates the proceedings for the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who worked as an auto worker in Ohio.

Closing arguments are slated to continue on Wednesday.

Rob Fransman, from Holland, is a joint plaintiff in the case against Demjanjuk. His parents, Rachel and Izak, both Dutch Jews, were deported to Sobibor in 1943 and killed in the gas chambers. The 70-year-old Fransman deemed Demjanjuk’s silence a “posthumous insult of the victims.”


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