Today, 89 year old John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States and put on a plane for Germany.  This deportation has been going on since 1977, when the retired auto worker was accused of being a guard in a Nazi death camp.


According to the AP article:


The deportation came four days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Demjanjuk’s request to block deportation and about 3 1/2 years after he was last ordered deported.

The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk (pronounced dem-YAHN’-yuk) is wanted on a Munich arrest warrant that accuses him of 29,000 counts of accessory to murder as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The legal case spans three decades.

Damjanjuk denies the charges and has maintained all along that he was held as a Soviet prisoner of war by the Germans. 


Rabbi Marvin Hier, a founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Demjanjuk deserves to be punished and that this will probably be the last trial of someone accused of Nazi war crimes.

“His work at the Sobibor death camp was to push men, women and children into the gas chamber,” Hier said in a statement. “He had no mercy, no pity and no remorse for the families whose lives he was destroying.”

The center was established to locate and help bring to justice Nazi war criminals.

The deportation capped a day in which Demjanjuk said goodbye to his family and was visited by two priests at his home in Seven Hills, a Cleveland suburb.

He then slipped quietly into an ambulance parked in his driveway, his family members standing at the edge of the garage and holding up a floral-patterned bed sheet to block the view of reporters and photographers across the street.

Apparently Damjanjek’s citizenship was revoked.  He is an old man.  Should he be punished?  Was he ‘just following orders?’  How long should a person’s crimes against humanity follow them?  Why did the rabbi say this man is probably the final Nazi who will be prosecuted? 

A great deal has been said on this blog about Nazis.  What do we do when we find a real Nazi?  A part of me thinks this is an old, old man who lived out his life in another time away from the insanity of WWII Germany.  Another part of me thinks that the last villain should be hunted down and punished.  I think of Alex’s mother, who forgave her son’s murderer and did not want him to receive the death penalty.  Would I manifest such compassion?  I hardly think so. 

Click for entire story.

66 Thoughts to “Ivan the Terrible Finally Deported”

  1. The Japanese no longer had a navy, nor an air force to speak of. All they had left were their bare hands and a few rifles. Since they could no longer threaten anyone, the war was effectively over.

    How could they have possibly constituted a threat to anyone?

  2. Moon-howler

    Gainesville Resident, thanks for sharing your trips to Pearl Harbor with us. I am most envious that you have gotten to see all of various places involved with that horrible day in American history.

    Happy, I hope you have had a chance to record your grandfather. I have memoirs my mother wrote and some letters from my father.

    Mackie, while Japan was on the run, they had not been rendered impotent quite yet. Your account simply is not accurate.

    How do you explain the USS Indianapolis being sunk after delivering Little Boy to Tinian? Magic? Of course Japan still had a navy and an air force. Had they not been so hell bent on Kamakazi suicide missions, perhaps they might have had more planes and more pilots.

    A threat? Go back and read what Gainesville has to say about murdering millions of Chinese. With their penchant towards facism and imperialism, Japan was far from harmless. Forcing a complete surrender was of paramount importance to the leaders during that time.

    Hindsight is 20/20. WWII is a little too recent to allow revisionist history to stand.

  3. GainesvilleResident

    Everyone should visit Pearl Harbor. One of the most interesting things I’ve seen, and one of the most moving too. To know that you are standing right on top of a tomb of thousands of men, is something hard to put into words.

    Thanks for the good history lesson too MH. I’m no expert, but from what I remember your description of the USS Indianaopolis sinking sounds right.

  4. GainesvilleResident

    I would also like to say, I’d like to tour one of the concentration camps someday, if I ever manage to get to Germany. That would also be right up there with Pearl Harbor in my book.

  5. GainesvilleResident

    Actually, more accurately, not all are in Germany, so should say if I ever get to Europe and am in the vicinity of one of them.

  6. Moon-howler

    GR, would like to tour one of the concentration camps too and also one of those WWII cemeteries over in France where so many of our soldiers are lain to rest.

    I have a friend whose father was killed going in to France during the D Day invasion (which was more like months than days) He did not go in on June 6, 1944 but rather several weeks afterwards. Margaret was a baby so she never knew her father. Right about the time the WWII Memorial was built, she got involved with an orphan of WWII group and somehow ended up there, visiting her father’s grave somewhere in France. She said she just broke down and wept for someone she had never know. She reported it was an incredibly moving experience. She also got a ring side seat at the dedication of that Memorial. I was green with envy. Of course I am green over you getting to go to Pearl Harbor so many times.

    Of course, I don’t think you can visit Mt. St. Helen’s enough times. Same with Grand Canyon although each time I go I don’t feel the urge to stay as long. Southern Utah is probably more enjoyable and less commercial. Beautiful rocks and scenery.

  7. GainesvilleResident

    Oh yes, MH. Been to Grand Canyon twice, hiked to the bottom once and hiked to another place, a lookout point which was almost as long a hike as to the bottom. Would like to go back there again. Too old now to do hike, but would like to take mule trip down canyon. Everyone should see it – words or pictures don’t do it justice.

    Did also get to Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah – very beautiful too.

    Mt St. Helen’s is a place I’d like to visit.

    I got many trips to Hawaii due to work, often sent out there when some kind of “emergency” cropped up with system, that I couldn’t help them resolve by phone/e-mail and got to the point needed to be resolved, as system wasn’t working properly. Usually some hardware malfunction in the end, but hard to diagnose over phone.

    Anyway, on some of more routine trips some colleagues would come. If they’d never been to the islands, I would tell them they must go see Pearl Harbor on the weekend, and would offer to go with them. I could never see it enough times myself. Same with USS Missouri, which is right next to Pearl Harbor.

    The trips to Hawaii are nothing I ever complain about, even though sometimes work long hours and get back to hotel at midnight. But usually manage a little sightseeing, and there are many many far worse places to be sent. Often was there for a month at a time, and have been there 14 times in past 5 years. One year I was there 4 months out of the year – if you added up the time on all the trips. Never complained about going there in middle of winter – first trip for work was in early January, and was 18 degrees and bitter wind at Dulles when I took off, didn’t mind landing, walking outside in 85 degree weather in middle of January! That was in January 2004. That was also year I ended up spending 4 months of that year on 5 separate trips out there. Not a bad place to be, people very friendly there. Trips to Hawaii are dwindling though – and next phase of project is to consolidate Hawaii and Norfolk locations into one central US location – probably St. Louis. So won’t be traveling to Hawaii much more for work. Was nice while it lasted!

  8. Moon-howler

    That is a job everyone should have!

    I have been to Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef as well as that gorgeous drive from Bryce to Capital Reef. I want to go to Arches and Canyonland but that just hasn’t happened yet.

  9. @Moon-howler
    “I understand your feelings about civilians, Pinko. However, do you think firebombing is any nicer?

    The further in time we get from dropping the bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the more morally ambiguous nuking a country becomes. Those folks of that era felt they would do anything to win that war and to bring ‘our boys’ home. They had little compassion or sympathy for anyone or anything Japanese. We also don’t feel the fear of invasion that those people felt. Recall the outrage of 9/11? Most Americans felt that same type of outrage following Dec. 7, 1941.

    At what point do we start asking ourselves if dropping bombs on anyone is appropriate at human beings. Why is it worse to drop nuclear weapons on people rather than incendiaries or conventional bombs? How about daisy cutters? At what point do we determine dead is dead?”


    Violence is bad, no matter who is doing it. No one said the Japanese were being nice in WWII.

  10. GainesvilleResident

    MH – One last comment about trips to Hawaii – often long hours, get back to hotel in wee hours of morning, but sometimes had weekends (or one day of weekend) off, also Hawaii employees of my company very friendly so enjoy working with them. Of course, flight over there and back is no picnic, gets tiring doing that much travel. But all in all, a good experience other than for long hours sometimes. Will be ashame whwen Hawaii site gets shut down in 2 or 3 years. Also, we’ve learned to do better troubleshooting over phone/e-mail, so not as much need for travel out there – saves lots of money obviously. I won’t miss going to Norfolk however!

    Many places out west I’d like to see, also really badly want to go to Yellowstone park someday. Would also like to get up to Alaska. Too many places to see, not enough time or money to go see them!

  11. Moon-howler

    Yellowstone is my favorite national park, for sure. I don’t know if I like the buffalo or the geysers better. Both smell awful.

    Pinko, violence is sometimes a necessary evil. I think at least one person was questioning how dangerous the Japanese were towards the end of the war.

  12. @Moon-howler
    “I think at least one person was questioning how dangerous the Japanese were towards the end of the war.”

    I guess I didn’t catch that because it wasn’t me 🙂

  13. It’s really not a question. It’s just fact. Look it up.

  14. Moon-howler

    Mackie, you have proven nothing. Where do you want me to look it up? Mackie’s Fantasy Book of Fairy Tales about the Poor Put-upon Japanese?

    Let me ask you this, let’s say that the Japanese had no air force and no navy. What did they have? Bingo! A nice big civilian population who worked the war industry and a fairly large army. Now, what would you do if you were a Japanese Imperialist?

    How about …rebuild? Make more planes, make more ships? Mitsubishi, who manufactured the zero planes, is still going strong.

    There had to be a complete surrender. How are you going to enforce that? You can bomb them, you can shoot them from your ships, you can go in as an invading army and go mano a mano if you have to. Which method is the safest for American troops who have been at war almost 5 years? American safety was the first order of the day. Everything else was secondary.

  15. You Wish

    Both locations were chosen because of the military links –

    “Hiroshima was a city of some industrial and military significance. A number of military camps were located nearby, including the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Shunroku Hata’s 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. Hiroshima was a minor supply and logistics base for the Japanese military. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops.”

    “The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest sea ports in southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.”

    The bombs were aimed specifically at military targets.

    The Japanese government had the opportunity to surrender starting in the summer of 1945 and they continually refused to do so, even at the urging of the Soviet Union. So, they had time to “say uncle”, they refused to.

  16. Moon-howler

    Good coverage, You Wish.

    Tokyo had been the target for the incendiary bombings for similar reasons. From what I have read, more lives were lost during those bombing exercises than in either nuclear bombing.

    I still think the use of nuclear weapons is worthy of discussion. At that point in time, nuclear weapons and their effect on people, animals, plants, the environment were unknown. There had been one actual test case in Nevada.

    I don’t think that wanting a complete, total surrender is worthy of discussion. I am not sure why other types of bombs weren’t considered. Perhaps they were. Knowing what we know today, given the same set of circumstances, would we nuke? Probably not.

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