NEW YORK (Aug. 28)
The family of John Demjanjuk, the Ukrainian-born autoworker accused of sending thousands of Jews to their deaths at the Nazis’ Treblinka death camp, has praised the treatment he is receiving from Israeli authorities.
According to the World Jewish Congress, the Ukrainian-American press is giving extensive coverage to the recently completed visit by Demjanjuk’s family to Ramla prison, where Demjanjuk has been held since his extradition from the United States on February 28.
The current issue of The Ukrainian Weekly, for example, reports that Demjanjuk’s son-in-law, Edward Nishnic, told the newspaper that Demjanjuk “is treated well,” adding that he “looked tanned and fit” and “is well, both physically and psychologically.” Demjanjuk’s daughter Irene agreed that her father looked “robust.”
According to Nishnic, Demjanjuk is actually receiving better treatment in Israel than he did in the United States. He cited the fact that Demjanjuk, who has been identified by survivors and by a former SS man as Treblinka’s infamous “Ivan the Terrible,” is allowed into the prison courtyard for an hour each day. At the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri, Demjanjuk had been held for a full year without being allowed outside, Nishnic said.
During their visit to Israel, Demjanjuk’s family held what they characterized as “amiable” meetings with Israeli officials. Israeli prison regulations ordinarily allow families a 30-minute visit with prisoners once a week. However, in light of what a prison spokesman called “the special circumstances” of Demjanjuk’s case, his family was granted two-hour visits, twice a week.