John Demjanjuk 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
BERLIN - Authorities in Germany are searching for a place for 91-year-old convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk to live while he is free on appeal, one of his lawyers said on Friday.
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Demjanjuk was convicted on Thursday in a Munich court of helping to kill more than 28,000 people at the Sobibor camp in Poland in the Holocaust during World War Two.
Sentenced to five years in prison, he was immediately set free because of his age and left custody on Friday, though his immediate destination was not known.
"They're searching for a place for him to stay," defense lawyer Guenther
Maull told Reuters. "I can't say whether they'll immediately find a
permanent residence or something temporary."
Ukraine-born Demjanjuk has been in German jail since he was extradited
from the United States two years ago and his lawyers had sought his
release on age and health grounds. He attended the 1-1/2 year trial in a
wheelchair and sometimes lying down.
Maull said the appeal will take at least a year to go through required legal procedures, and maybe longer.
In the meantime, Demjanjuk, who is stateless after being stripped of his
US citizenship, will need to live in a nursing home in Germany, Maull
"The government will have to support him," he said. "It's very clear he
needs social assistance and he needs to be housed where he can receive
Demjanjuk, who was once atop the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most
wanted Nazi war criminals, said he was drafted into the Soviet army in
1941 and then taken prisoner by the Germans.
Prosecutors convinced the court that Demjanjuk was trained by the Nazis
as a camp guard and then served at the Sobibor extermination camp from
March-September 1943, while at least 28,000 people, mostly Jews, were
Estimates put the total dead at Sobibor at some 250,000.