John Demjanjuk Become Naturalized American Citizen

John Demjanjuk Become Naturalized American Citizen


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John Demjanjuk becomes a naturalized American citizen. Originally from the Ukraine and born Ivan Mykolaiovych Demianiuk, he had fought for the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany until he was captured after a battle in the Crimea. Later Demjanjuk was recruited along with other Soviet POWs to work for the Germans.

John Demjanjuk will later be accused of being used by the Nazis to help guard death camps, but Demjanjuk will argue that he instead joined the Russian Liberation Army which fought under the command of Andrey Vlasov against the Soviet Union.

There will be two war crimes trials that John Demjanjuk will go through. The first will occur in 1986 in Israel, where he is accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," an especially vicious guard at the Treblinka death camp. He's found guilty in 1988 and sentenced to death, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturns the verdict. They conclude that there simply wasn't enough evidence that Ivan the Terrible and John Demjanjuk were really the same person and that it wasn't a case of mistaken identity.

There is a second trial in 2009 in Germany. This time, prosecutors won't attempt to prove that John Demjanjuk was any particular concentration camp guard who committed any particular criminal acts. Instead, they will only argue that John Demjanjuk was a guard at the Sobibor death camp during a particular span of time and charge him as an accessory to all of the murders which occurred at Sobibor over that time span.

This is not an argument used by German prosecutors in any other war crimes trial and is probably chosen due to the realization that there is no direct evidence of John Demjanjuk committing any specific crimes. The argument is criticized because of that, but it will be accepted by the German court, and in this trial Demjanjuk will be found guilty.

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Demjanjuk convicted, gets 5 years

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