Be Allowed Clemency For His War Crimes Based Upon His Age and Infirmity Or Should He Be Punished According To The Law?
John Demjanjuk was purported to be an SS guard at various concentration, labor, and extermination camps in Eastern Poland and Germany during World War II. Mr. Demjanjuk was born in the Ukraine in April 1920. In World War II, he served in the Red Army and was taken prisoner by the Wehrmacht. While he was a prisoner of war, he was given the choice of either being an auxiliary or starving to death as a POW. The conditions of Russian POWs under German rule was quite dismal-over 80% of Russian POWs died while in German custody. Mr. Demjanjuk elected to be an auxiliary. According to sources, he trained at Trawniki concentration camp, subsequently becoming a Ukrainian SS auxiliary.
It is further purported that during Mr. Demjanjuk's tenures in several extermination camps such as Treblinka, Madjanek, and Sobibor, he participated in the murders of thousands of innocent people. In the aftermath of World War II, Mr. Demjanjuk immigrated to America where he proceeded to Cleveland, Ohio. There he worked in an automobile factory until his retirement.
However, during the 1980s, evidence was unearthed regarding Mr. Demjanjuk's SS past as "Ivan the Terrible". He was then deported to Israel to stand trial; however, the court found him not to be Ivan the Terrible. He returned to the United States in 1990. It was determined that although Mr. Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible, he was not entirely innocent either.
More evidence was unearthed that while he was a guard in various concentration, labor, and extermination camps, it was discovered that he participated in the murders of over 20,000 innocent men, women, and children. In spite of the evidence unearthed, Mr. Demjanjuk steadfastly maintained his innocence. He was subsequently extradicted to Germany for a trial.
On May 12, 2011, Mr. Demjanjuk was declared an accessory to the murder of 27,900 innocent men, women, and children and was to be sentenced to 5 years of prison. However, he was released pending appeal and he is currently residing in a nursing home in Germany. In light of the crimes committed by Mr. Demjanjuk, should he be granted clemency because of his advanced age or should he punished to the fullest extent of the law?
Tough call. Just about all Nazi death camps used Ukranins as guards because of their deep anti-semetic and anti-Stalin views. Of course give the choice to either serve as a Nazi pee-on or die helps make up one's mind. But the man is 91 and not a threat to anyone. You can lock him up, but his medical care costs will be stagering where a facility would be inable to provide necessary care.
Demjanjuk should never have gone on trial! He was already tried and found not guilty in Israel. Germany should be ashamed of itself.
I agree. I didn't think about that. It's been over 60 years since WW2, is it still feasable to bring a Nazi war criminal to justice? I mean tracking down any living witnesses and pyscial evidence would be dismal. Even if the accused admitted that they committed war crimes, what good would locking them up do? They would be a high maintence inmate with lving conditions no different to living a nursing home (where they're probably at now) except ALL their would be paid by the state.
This man is an old man. We must remember that there were elderly people who were sent to the gas chambers. I do not think that his age has anything to do with justice. One question I would like to ask, If anyone of us were driving a truck which you knew would be taking those Jews to their death. What would you do. Would you say I am just following orders. There were people who were willing to help even though they were part of the work force in the Nazi era. He was not an old man when he was involved in this. I will not say whether he should be given the death penalty or not, but he knew what was going on and he made his choice.
He should make his peace with God and ask forgiveness, then the courts should make their choice.
End of discussion because he died today a free man a nursing home.
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