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View Full Version : Demjanjuk convicted over Nazi camp deaths



Rochard
05-12-2011, 03:02 PM
Earlier today John Demjanjuk was found guilty in Germany of war crimes because he was a prison guard at the Sobibor death camp. Has anyone been following this?

From what I understand, John Demjanjuk was born in Russia, fought against the Nazis, was captured and became a POW, then changed sides and ended up being a prison guard at the Sobibor death camp. Eventually he moved to the US, became a citizen, and lived a productive life.

Evidence against him is fleeting as best, which is understood because it was sixty years ago at the close of WW2 when Europe was in ruins.

I'm not saying he's innocent, but it seems to me they've found him guilty based on just the fact that he was a guard at the time. To me that's like saying the chick who works as a secretary at the local police station is guilty of murder when a police officer kills someone.

What's your thoughts about all of this?

Nickdfresh
05-12-2011, 05:43 PM
He was Ukrainian actually, worked in an Ohio auto-plant, and has basically admitted he was a guard at the death camp. My understanding is that their defense is that he was forced to be a guard and was as much as a prisoner as the concentration camp inmates. He's no martyr!

My opinion is **** him! He's lived a better, much longer life than the people he was so cruelly "forced" to guard on their way to starvation, disease and death!

flamethrowerguy
05-12-2011, 05:52 PM
He was convicted to five years...pretty cheap.

83Footer
05-12-2011, 06:30 PM
He was convicted to five years...pretty cheap.
Absolutely.

Rochard
05-13-2011, 02:21 AM
He was Ukrainian actually, worked in an Ohio auto-plant, and has basically admitted he was a guard at the death camp. My understanding is that their defense is that he was forced to be a guard and was as much as a prisoner as the concentration camp inmates. He's no martyr!

My opinion is **** him! He's lived a better, much longer life than the people he was so cruelly "forced" to guard on their way to starvation, disease and death!

I'm not saying that he's an angel, but saying that he was a guard at a death camp and holding him responsible for what happened inside is two different things. That's like saying "your a truck driver that supplied the death camp, thus your guilty".

And where does Germany, of all countries, get off pressing charges against him? After all, he was following the orders of the (then) German government at the time. Just because the government changed power shouldn't change anything; He was following orders from the government, the highest power. While clearly in hindsight we know that the Nazi government wasn't operating in anyone's best interests, the truth is war crimes are decided by the victor - we killed tens of thousands in moments with fire bombing and atomic bombs, but we don't consider them war crimes.

Not saying this guy is innocent, just wondering why anyone is really going after him after all of this time. LOL - Leave that the Mossad.

Rising Sun*
05-13-2011, 10:08 AM
He was convicted to five years...pretty cheap.

It's an insult to the dead.

If he was responsible for their deaths he deserved life, regardless of his age. He lived a lot longer and better than those he confined so they could be killed.

And he was sentenced after he exhausted all the possibilities of a generous legal system which conferred on him all the benefits of blind justice denied to those poor bastards he confined so they could be killed.

I am heartily sick of the same rubbish here where, say, some paedophile priest who destroyed the lives of many people he raped as children gets a relatively light sentence because he's around seventy years old; has various ailments; and might die in prison. I want the **** to die in prison.

forager
05-13-2011, 10:19 AM
No sympathy for him, but 5 years is pretty much a life sentence for a sick old man.
The retirement he earned has been a pretty tumultuous affair and not very enjoyable.
Better by far than a camp, but not what he expected.

Rising Sun*
05-13-2011, 10:57 AM
I'm not saying that he's an angel, but saying that he was a guard at a death camp and holding him responsible for what happened inside is two different things. That's like saying "your a truck driver that supplied the death camp, thus your guilty".

No, the truck driver isn't ensuring that the people in the death camp can't escape, to ensure that they will die.

For all we know, the truck driver might be delivering food to help the inmates survive.

But the guards keep the inmates in so that they can't escape what is going to happen to them. So the guards are a vital part of the death camp killing process.


And where does Germany, of all countries, get off pressing charges against him?

Because post-war Germany renounced the principles and conduct which allowed the death camps to exist, and has taken every step it can to stop a Nazi resurgence.

Which is more than can be said for most English speaking countries which were Allies in the war against the Nazis and which allow various neo-Nazi organisations to exist in their nations.


After all, he was following the orders of the (then) German government at the time.

The Nazi party and the German government were different things, as were the things they contolled.

Anyway, at the relevant times Germany was run by a dictator who happened to be the head of the Nazi party and it was that dictatorship which ran Germany rather than any properly elected government.


Just because the government changed power shouldn't change anything;

Why?

Are governments elected just to maintain the past?

If so, why do we need a new government?

If nothing should change with a new government, it follows that a deposed despot should never be brought to account for his or her crimes. Which lets Pol Pot; Idi Amin; and countless others off the hook. Is that a good idea?



He was following orders from the government, the highest power.

The Nuremberg Defence didn't work.


While clearly in hindsight we know that the Nazi government wasn't operating in anyone's best interests, the truth is war crimes are decided by the victor - we killed tens of thousands in moments with fire bombing and atomic bombs, but we don't consider them war crimes.

Can you specify the exact 'war crime' he was convicted of?

Because if it's a crime against humanity, as distinct from a war crime, the victor's attitude is irrelevant.


Not saying this guy is innocent, just wondering why anyone is really going after him after all of this time.

I'm wondering why you wonder why someone involved in mass murder shouldn't be pursued whenever he or she appears.

Rising Sun*
05-13-2011, 11:16 AM
No sympathy for him, but 5 years is pretty much a life sentence for a sick old man.
The retirement he earned has been a pretty tumultuous affair and not very enjoyable.
Better by far than a camp, but not what he expected.

The people killed in the camp didn't expect, or deserve, what happened to them, either.

I find the idea of punishing a sick old man unattractive but, as someone who will avenge a terrible crime perpetrated upon a close family member of mine if I can ever identify the bastards who did it regardless of their age, I have a great deal of understanding and sympathy for people who want vengeance and or justice for even worse crimes perpetrated upon their family members and others.

As I adverted to in my last post comment about aged paedophile priests, the advanced age of the perpetrator when sentenced should be ignored when balanced against the childhoods and longer lives the perpetrator destroyed.

It's not fashionable in modern intellectual discourse informed by noble humanitarian and civil liberties principles, but in my view there are some people whose crimes are so terrible that they have forfeited all right to usual sentencing considerations about prospects of rehabilitation etc. They are just cancers in society which should be removed permanently, regardless of age. Whether that is by life imprisonment or a death penalty is a different debate, but these people should not be allowed to move among the rest of us.

Nickdfresh
05-13-2011, 05:52 PM
I'm not saying that he's an angel, but saying that he was a guard at a death camp and holding him responsible for what happened inside is two different things. That's like saying "your a truck driver that supplied the death camp, thus your guilty".

Um, he was called "Ivan the Terrible" for some reason I'm sure wasn't in any way acting as an "angel." But I guess he was "just following orders." Right?


And where does Germany, of all countries, get off pressing charges against him? After all, he was following the orders of the (then) German government at the time.

Illegal orders that actually violated the then constitution and most legal codes of Germany, and there were cases where SS-men refused to carry out mass killings. Some even were discharged and allowed to leave when Nazi authorities realized how embarrassing a trial would be...


Just because the government changed power shouldn't change anything; He was following orders from the government, the highest power. While clearly in hindsight we know that the Nazi government wasn't operating in anyone's best interests, the truth is war crimes are decided by the victor - we killed tens of thousands in moments with fire bombing and atomic bombs, but we don't consider them war crimes.

Not saying this guy is innocent, just wondering why anyone is really going after him after all of this time. LOL - Leave that the Mossad.

The bombing of German cities wasn't technically a "war crime." They were (heavily) defended cities and therefore legitimate targets. We can talk about the morality and even the sensibility of Allied strategic bombing, but legal yes. Moral, or even wisely carried out, perhaps not. But I might remind you that few actual Germans were put on trial for "firebombing" Allied cities after the war...

83Footer
05-13-2011, 09:35 PM
The truck driver argument only works if the driver knew, really knew what was going on. There may have been millions involved in the supply chain of the death camps , including those who worked in factories making barb wire or machineguns. I do not see responsiblity spreading beyond knowlege of the crimes but crimes were commited. The direct participants were guilty.
Yes it is frightening how the process was to"normalize" the acts of horror and turn it in to a 9 to 5 job.

Laconia
05-14-2011, 02:31 AM
He was found not guilty many years ago in an Israeli court. At that time he was accused of being " Ivan the Terrible", but the charge could not be proven. To me, at this point anything society does to him is of minor significance. His real judgement of guilt or innocence will come at the hand of his maker.

Rochard
05-14-2011, 02:32 AM
I finally found a place to post about WW2 stuff without everyone thinking I'm a nut case!


Um, he was called "Ivan the Terrible" for some reason I'm sure wasn't in any way acting as an "angel." But I guess he was "just following orders." Right?


Yeah, they thought he might be Ivan the Terrible. But if the Israelis let him off the hook for that, I'm guessing they didn't have enough proof.

Maybe he was just "following orders". But there's a staggering difference between being a guard and being the person who physically killed someone.



The bombing of German cities wasn't technically a "war crime." They were (heavily) defended cities and therefore legitimate targets. We can talk about the morality and even the sensibility of Allied strategic bombing, but legal yes. Moral, or even wisely carried out, perhaps not. But I might remind you that few actual Germans were put on trial for "firebombing" Allied cities after the war...

That's a subject for another thread, and one I love to talk about.

Rochard
05-14-2011, 02:35 AM
The truck driver argument only works if the driver knew, really knew what was going on. There may have been millions involved in the supply chain of the death camps , including those who worked in factories making barb wire or machineguns. I do not see responsiblity spreading beyond knowlege of the crimes but crimes were commited. The direct participants were guilty.
Yes it is frightening how the process was to"normalize" the acts of horror and turn it in to a 9 to 5 job.

But even those who knew were powerless to stop it.

According to his story, which seems rather doubtful, he fought against the Nazis, was captured, spent time as a POW, and secured his release by agreeing to be a "low level prison guard". So if offered a life as a POW or having a 9-5 job and decent food, I'm pretty confident I know which one I'd take. And if someone said "Keep your mouth shut or your going back to prison and might die" it sounds like he was going to prison either way. (Assuming his story is truthful.)

Nickdfresh
05-14-2011, 03:17 AM
...



That's a subject for another thread, and one I love to talk about.

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?2006-Bomber-Harris-Criminal-or-Hero

flamethrowerguy
05-14-2011, 07:54 AM
No sympathy for him, but 5 years is pretty much a life sentence for a sick old man.
The retirement he earned has been a pretty tumultuous affair and not very enjoyable.
Better by far than a camp, but not what he expected.

Subtract two years because of his pre-trial custody and only three years remain.
After all I doubt he'll ever see the inside of a prison again. Bad health reasons, you know...

Rising Sun*
05-14-2011, 08:19 AM
Subtract two years because of his pre-trial custody and only three years remain.
After all I doubt he'll ever see the inside of a prison again. Bad health reasons, you know...

How does that work?

Can't he be put in a prison hospital?

flamethrowerguy
05-14-2011, 08:33 AM
How does that work?

Can't he be put in a prison hospital?

Well, a prison hospital is still a prison.And when an expert considers him not fit for detention he remains free...

Rising Sun*
05-14-2011, 08:35 AM
Well, a prison hospital is still a prison.And when an expert considers him not fit for detention he remains free...

What makes him not fit for detention?

Lack of suitable facilities to care for him in his condition?

Rochard
05-14-2011, 06:21 PM
Well, a prison hospital is still a prison.And when an expert considers him not fit for detention he remains free...

At his age... Define detention? My grandmother died at age 91 in a nursing home. Seemed pretty much like a prison to me. She couldn't stray far from her bed anyhow.

flamethrowerguy
05-15-2011, 03:46 PM
At his age... Define detention? My grandmother died at age 91 in a nursing home. Seemed pretty much like a prison to me. She couldn't stray far from her bed anyhow.

Generally spoken it's a room of app. 12 sqm where you're locked up for -in the worst case- 23 hours a day and your family is allowed to visit you thrice a month for 45 minutes...in Germany that is.

http://www.wdr.de/themen/kultur/stichtag/2006/08/_img/bild0809_400q.jpg

flamethrowerguy
05-15-2011, 03:49 PM
What makes him not fit for detention?

Lack of suitable facilities to care for him in his condition?

They're not giving away details about his physical state...just that -at this time- imprisonment would be disproportional for a 91-year-old stateless person who supposedly has no opportunity to leave the country in the first place.