Historian: documents suggest John Demjanjuk may have been at Flossenbuerg concentration campBy Andrea M. Jarach, AP
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Documents suggest Demjanjuk link to 2nd Nazi camp
MUNICH — A German historian on Wednesday presented evidence at the trial of John Demjanjuk that suggested he worked as a guard at the Nazis’ Flossenbuerg concentration camp.
Matthias Meissner of Germany’s Federal Archive showed the Munich state court original documents from Flossenbuerg listing a man called “Demianiuk” and “Demenjuk” as a guard there in October 1943.
The ID number on the card was the same as on the key piece of evidence in the trial — a Nazi-issued identity card that the prosecution says carried Demjanjuk’s photo and indicates he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.
Although Demjanjuk isn’t charged with any crimes at Flossenbuerg, which was a forced labor camp rather than a death camp, the documents presented by Meissner could back up the prosecution’s allegation that Demjanjuk was indeed a camp guard and might later have been transferred to Sobibor.
Former Ohio autoworker Demjanjuk faces 28,060 counts of accessory to murder related to his alleged activities at Sobibor.
The 90-year-old denies the charges. The defense maintains Demjanjuk was a Soviet soldier captured by the Germans and spent most of the war in prison camps himself.
On the documents, the name “Demianiuk” figured twice on a list of weapons handed out to guards at Flossenbuerg in October 1943. Another list of guards, which is undated, lists “Demenjuk” alongside his alleged Nazi ID number.
A third document shows that a “Diminiuk,” again identified by the same ID number, was put on service at a bunker on the Flossenbuerg grounds in October 1944.
Transcribing names from the Cyrillic alphabet used in Demjanjuk’s native Ukraine could lead to slight variations in spellings on the documents, excerpts of which were read out by Judge Ralph Alt or shown on an overhead projector.
Defense attorney Ulrich Busch questioned the documents’ authenticity and said Demjanjuk never was a guard in Flossenbuerg.
About 100,000 people were imprisoned throughout the war at Flossenbuerg, in southeastern Germany, and about 30,000 inmates were killed or died there due to inhumane treatment.
Alt asked Demjanjuk at the opening of the trial if he wanted to look at the documents, but the defendant declined.
Demjanjuk followed the hearing lying in a hospital bed next to the judge’s bench, wearing sunglasses and showing no reaction to the testimony.
Demjanjuk was deported from the U.S. to Germany in May 2009.
He had his U.S. citizenship revoked in 1981 after the U.S. Justice Department alleged he hid his past as the notorious Treblinka guard “Ivan the Terrible.” He was extradited to Israel, where he was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1988, only to have the conviction overturned five years later as a case of mistaken identity.
The trial in Munich, which started in November 2009, will resume on Sept. 13 following a summer break.
Associated Press Writer Juergen Baetz contributed to this report from Berlin.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects throughout that documents were read or shown in court, changes year on third document to 1944.)
Tags: Europe, Germany, Munich, Nazism, North America, United States, Western Europe