Demjanjuk is most wanted Nazi criminal

Wiesenthal Ctr. makes alleged Nazi guard No. 1; US asks court to dismiss Demjanjuk's deportation stay.

demjanjuk deportation 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
demjanjuk deportation 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has made alleged death camp guard John Demjanjuk No. 1 on its most-wanted list of Nazi war criminals. Efraim Zuroff, director of the center in Jerusalem, said Tuesday the move reflects the importance of efforts to deport Demjanjuk from the US to Germany so he can stand trial. The 89-year-old suburban Cleveland man faces an arrest warrant in Germany that accuses him of working as a guard in 1943 at a death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Wiesenthal Center's most-wanted Nazi had been SS doctor Aribert Heim. In a February television interview, Heim's son claimed his father died in 1992 in Cairo. Zuroff said Heim has been moved into a special category while that claim is investigated. In related news, the US Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to dismiss a stay of deportation to Germany for alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk. The government said in a brief filed in a federal appeals court on Monday that Demjanjuk's attorneys won the emergency stay last week by arguing that a motion before the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia, had yet to be considered. The attorneys had claimed that painful medical ailments would make Demjanjuk's travel to Germany torturous, but on Thursday, the board denied the request to reopen the case. An arrest warrant in Germany claims the 89-year-old suburban Cleveland man was an accessory to some 29,000 deaths during World War II at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Once in Germany, he could be formally charged in court. Demjanjuk, a native Ukrainian, has denied being a Nazi guard and claims he was a prisoner of war of the Germans. He came to the United States after the war as a refugee. Demjanjuk had been tried in Israel after accusations surfaced that he was the notorious Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible" in Poland at the Treblinka death camp. He was found guilty in 1988 of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a conviction later overturned by the Supreme Court. A US judge revoked his citizenship in 2002 based on Justice Department evidence showing he concealed his service at Sobibor and other Nazi-run death and forced labor camps. An immigration judge ruled in 2005 he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.