NEW YORK (Dec. 16)
The Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal of a deportation order from John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born war criminal charged with the murder of 900,000 Jews at the Treblinka death camp during World War II.
The court’s action is separate from a pending petition for review of an extradition request from Israel for Demjanjuk. Israel has sought his extradition for two years based on a 1963 extradition treaty it has with the U.S.
If the extradition order is implemented, Demjanjuk would be the first Nazi war criminal ever extradited to Israel for trial and could face the death penalty if found guilty of war crimes. Israel tried and executed war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1961 after he was captured by Israeli agents in Buenos Aires.
Demjanjuk, a 65-year-old retired automobile worker from Cleveland, was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1981, after being charged by the Justice Department with having lied about his past activities when he entered the U.S. in 1952.
A District Court in Cleveland confirmed his identity as the brutal death camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” to the inmates of Treblinka where he allegedly tortured Jews and operated the gas chambers.
He was identified by Jewish survivors of Treblinka and by a former SS man, now a West Germany resident, who knew him at the Polish death camp. His lawyers have contended that their client is a victim of fraudulent evidence manufactured by the KGB.
BENEFIT DINNER CANCELLED
In a related development, a scheduled benefit dinner last night in a Buffalo, New York suburb to aid the defense fund of Demjanjuk was cancelled on account of poor weather conditions, according to the chairman of the group sponsoring the dinner.
Zenon Botnarskyj, identified as the chairman of the Western Branch of the Americans for Human Rights in the Ukraine, told a Buffalo newspaper that the fundraiser will be rescheduled, although he said a date had not yet been set. About 10 inches of snow fell on the Buffalo area last weekend.
The benefit had been publicized exclusively within the Ukrainian community as a “Ukrainian dinner” at which drawings for prizes will be held. The monies were to be earmarked for the “John Demjanjuk Defense Fund.” Literature promoting the dinner described Demjanjuk as “an innocent man” being “persecuted” by a “Kremlin-penetrated” U.S. Justice Department. The fundraiser was to be held in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga at the Ukrainian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church Hall.