The Final Solution began with Wanasee Conference in 1942. It ended 6 million deaths later. It will play out one more time in what will probably be the last major Nazi war Crimes trial of our lifetimes. It may be the most publicized since 1962 when Adolph Eichman was tried in an Israeli court for crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and hanged. His trial was televised around the world.
A German Court has issued a warrant seeking extradition or deportation of retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk. He was charged with 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder while working as a guard at the Sobibor Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. Demjanjuk, 88, lives in a Cleveland suburb. He denies involvement in the deaths and claims he is too sick to travel if deported or extradited.
Demjanjuk’s apparent final travel stop in a German court has followed a bizarre and lengthy path. He was wrongly convicted of being the Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible” and sentenced to death in Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court later overturned the conviction, saying another man was probably “Ivan,” a sadistic guard at the Treblinka death camp where 870,000 people died. He returned to the United States and had his citizenship restored. He was stripped again of his U.S. citizenship again in 2002, with a judge ruled that he had worked as a guard at other death camps. The problem up to now has been that no country would take him. Edward Nishnic, a spokesman for Demjanjuk’s family once stated:
“This is taking it to the ridiculous……. It’s another form of harassment against a very and very frail man.”
His wife Vera told told a German newspaper:
“His brain is not functioning correctly. One day he recognizes everything, the next day he has forgotten it all. He goes to the doctor for injections once a week, otherwise he wouldn’t be around much longer.”
There is no doubt that there is sympathy and support for Demjanjuk due to his age and failing health. Should there be? Should the passage of time mitigate punishment for war crimes so heinous that they shock the conscience? I personally do not think so. The United States should grant extradition of John Demjanjuk or deport him. He should be forcibily removed from this country on a stretcher if need be. The ultimate conclusion of the Final Solution at a minimum should require that John Demjanjuk be forced to look into the eyes of the few still alive who witnessed his brutality. If none are alive then their decsendants. That is the minimum that justice requires.