Demjanjuk Threatens Strike

Accused Nazi criminal, on trial in Germany, threatens hunger strike unless court accepts files he claims will exonerate him.

Elad Benari , | updated: 3:16 AM

John Demjanjuk on Trial in Israel, 1988
John Demjanjuk on Trial in Israel, 1988
WikiMedia Commons

90-year-old John Demjanjuk, the former auto worker who is currently on trial in Germany facing charges of helping to murder 27,900 Jews in the Sobibor camp during the Holocaust, has threatened to go on hunger strike unless the court allows him to present KGB documents which he claims will exonerate him.

According to a report on Tuesday by The Associated Press, Demjanjuk’s lawyer, Ulrich Busch, said his client plans to begin his hunger strike within the next two unless the Munich court allows the documents to be presented.

Busch, who read a statement on behalf of his client at the start of Tuesday’s hearing, said there are documents in a KGB file from Russia and Ukraine that could prove Demjanjuk is innocent. In the statement he accused Judge Ralph Alt of conducting a political “show trial.”

“This is a mockery of justice,” Busch said in the statement on behalf of Demjanjuk. “There is only one way left for me to show the world what a travesty of justice this is.”

Demjanjuk himself entered the court on Tuesday holding a sign reading “1627”, the number of the Soviet investigative file on him which he says could exonerate him.

Busch previously said the file contains transcripts of a 1985 interview with former Sobibor guard Ignat Danilchenko. Danilchenko, who is now dead, told Soviet officials that none of the Ukrainian auxiliary guards were used by the Nazis inside the camp.

The court, however, has rejected the requests to push for the file, saying the claim by the defense that there is relevant evidence in it is merely a “hypothesis.”

Prosecutors were due to begin their closing arguments on Tuesday, but the trial was delayed after Busch entered a series of motions, according to a report by Deutsche Welle. The trial has already been stalled several times after Demjanjuk refused to attend court for health reasons.

Demjanjuk was born in Ukraine and fought with Soviet forces in World War II before he was captured by the Nazis. In the 1950s he moved to the United States but was deported to Germany in 2009.