Demjanjuk Attorney: “Former guard suffered as much as the Jews did at the hands of Nazis.”

A verdict in the the Nazi war crimes trial of John Demjanjuk, who is accused of murdering 27,900 Jews during the Holocaust, and began in Munich, Germany on November 30, 2009 is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, May 12, 2011.

In the last days of the trail, Demjanjuk’s attorney, while arguing for his client's acquittal said the alleged former guard suffered "as much as the Jews did at the hands of Nazis."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center was represented at the trial by longtime SWC lawyer Martin Mendelsohn and Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s Chief Nazi-Hunter and Israel Director.

Photo: John Demjanjuk's service document from his time in the Trawniki Labor Camp, used during WWII to house Soviet POWs and Polish Jews. (click to enlarge)

John Demjanjuk was accused by the German government of assisting in the murders of more than 27,000 Jews while a “Watchman” at the Sobibor Extermination Camp in Poland. This case has historic meaning because while it may be the last ‘major’ case tried in Germany, it is the first time a non-German has been charged by Germany with Nazi War crimes and brought to trial in Germany.


Photo: Martin Mendelsohn (L) with Thomas Blatt (R) at the trial.

Despite press reports, a panel of medical doctors has declared him medically fit to stand trial. Testimony included that of Holocaust survivor Thomas Blatt who survived Sobibor and participated and escaped in the Sobibor revolt on October 14, 1943. Blatt and Philip Bialowitz (“Nebenklägers” or co-plaintiffs) were represented in the trial by Wiesenthal Center counsel Martin Mendelsohn who previously represented Nebenklägers in the criminal case of war crimes against Josef Schwammberger who was tried and convicted in Stuttgart in 1991. Schwammberger died in prison.


More on Demjanjuk:

•Demjanjuk Formally Charged in Germany with Murder of 27,900 Jews

Statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on the Deportation of John Demjanjuk

Simon Wiesenthal Center Statement on John Demjanjuk Deportation

Wiesenthal Center Deeply Concerned Regarding Delays in Demjanjuk Extradition to Germany; Urges Bavarian Officials to Expedite Case

Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Demjanjuk Deportation Ruling

Wiesenthal Center Urges Poland to Investigate Demjanjuk with View to Possible Extradition

SWC Praises Decision by Poland to Investigate Charges Against Demjanjuk and Three Additional Nazi War Criminals

Accused Nazi John Demjanjuk's United States Citizenship Revoked