German prosecutors demand 6 years jail for Demjanjuk

Munich court says man accused of helping to kill 27,900 Jews during Holocaust was "part of the Nazi machinery, and accomplice to murder."

March 22, 2011 17:42
2 minute read.
Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk

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


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


MUNICH, Germany - German prosecutors demanded a six-year jail term on Tuesday for John Demjanjuk, accused of helping kill 27,900 Jews in the Holocaust, at the end of what is likely to be the country's final war crimes trial.

State prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz told a court in Munich at the end of a 16-month trial that Demjanjuk, 90, was "part of the Nazi machinery" and an accomplice to murdering Jews.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

This Week in History: The first last Nazi trial

"Anyone with as much guilt as this must be punished - even at such an old age and even 60 years after the crime," Lutz said in his closing arguments. Prosecutors could have sought a jail term of up to 15 years.

Demjanjuk has denied any role in the Holocaust. He has said he was drafted into the Soviet army in 1941, became a German prisoner of war and served at German prison camps.

Prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was once atop the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted war criminals, of assisting in killings at the Sobibor death camp, where they say some 250,000 Jews were killed. He denies having worked there.

His family says he was too frail for trial, which he began in November 2009 in a wheelchair and has attended lying down.


Demjanjuk was born in Ukraine and fought in the Red Army before the Nazis captured him and recruited him as a camp guard. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 and became a naturalised citizen in 1958.

Lutz said he based his demand for six years in jail due to the high number of victims. He also said that many other prisoners of war who became guards had managed to escape.

"The defendant could have tried to escape," he said. He added Demjanjuk took part voluntarily and out of conviction in the annihilation of Jews. He said the greater the crime, the more the need to avoid it even if trying to escape would be risky.

Demjanjuk was sentenced to death in Israel in 1988 after Holocaust survivors said he was the notorious guard "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka camp, where 870,000 people died.

The Supreme Court later overturned his conviction when new evidence showed another man was likely the Treblinka guard.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery