JERUSALEM (Mar. 2)
Accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, who arrived here last Friday after being extradited from the United States, was remanded in custody for 15 days by a Jerusalem court Sunday.
Demjanjuk, appearing before the court, again denied his involvement in the gassing of Jews at the Treblinka concentration camp — as he has persistently done through the legal proceedings in the United States.
He told the court, “I just want to say I am completely the wrong person.” He said he “never was in that place” (Treblinka) and that his being brought to Israel to stand trial for his war time activities was “completely unfair.”
Demjanjuk, a 65-year-old native of the Ukraine, denied having been a Nazi collaborator and added that he was himself held in a prison camp by the Nazis. He has claimed that he was a soldier in the Soviet army and was captured during the war.
Police Deputy Commander Alex Ish-Shalom told the court that there was evidence provided by Treblinka survivors attesting to the accused man’s crimes at Treblinka, where Demjanjuk was known as “Ivan the Terrible” by inmates because of his cruel treatment of prisoners there.
INTERROGATION TO LAST FOR SEVERAL WEEKS
Legal circles here expect Demjanjuk’s interrogation, by a team of police experts, to last for several weeks. His trial will be held in a hall on the ground floor of the Binyanei Haooma Convention Center in Jerusalem. The Ministry of Justice is already planning adjacent facilities to accommodate the mass of local and foreign journalists expected to cover the proceedings.
Demjanjuk, meanwhile, is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security facility in Ramle since his arrival here last Friday under escort of U.S. marshals. He arrived on a regular scheduled EI AI flight from New York.
Demjanjuk had not been manacled during his flight, but EI AI stewards removed all knives and sharp tableware from his tray before he was handed his meals. They said he appeared quiet during the flight, but was shivering as he stepped down the aircraft steps.
At the bottom of the stairs, U.S. marshals removed his handcuffs, which were then replaced by handcuffs supplied by the Israeli police officer who formally informed Demjanjuk he was under arrest and read him his rights.
The whole process, from the time he left the aircraft to the moment he entered an armored car — rented by the police from a cash transport safety company and repainted with police colors — took less than five minutes.