WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. government is preparing to deport accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday that it has contacted the government of Germany to get the travel documents needed to extradite Demjanjuk there, the Associated Press reported. Demjanjuk has been charged with being an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews.
The news came the same day that the Anti-Defamation League urged the U.S. government to extradite the former Nazi prison guard.
“After too many years of delay, Demjanjuk is now under a final order of deportation,” said ADL national director Abraham Foxman. “He should be put on a plane to Germany and removed immediately.”
In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the ADL urged the U.S. to act quickly, noting Demjanjuk’s advancing age of 88 and poor physical condition, as well as the types of crimes for which he is accused.
“There is absolutely no doubt about the facts that Demjanjuk was trained as a Wachmann by the SS at its Trawniki training camp and served the Nazi regime at the Sobibor death camp and the Flossenburg concentration camp,” Foxman wrote. “The evidence of Demjanjuk’s active participation in the Holocaust has also been reviewed and confirmed by courts in the United States and in Israel.”
A retired autoworker from a suburb of Cleveland, Demjanjuk was accused in the early 1980s of being the notorious guard "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp. He was jailed in Israel for seven years but was released when, during the appeals process, he could not be identified as "Ivan" beyond a reasonable doubt.
The U.S. Justice Department later reported that Demjanjuk had been a guard at Sobibor, and last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled he was eligible for deportation because he lied about his Nazi past to obtain U.S. citizenship.