In the title of his Op-Ed about the deportation of Nazi John Demjanjuk, Patrick J. Buchanan wrote the title to his
Buchanan has long stood in defense of Nazis.
future biography, "The True Haters". Buchanan has long stood in defense of Nazis, including the time I saw him applaud when two of my friends were being beaten up and thrown out of one of his presidential campaign speeches just for taking their hats off and letting people see their kippot, their Jewish religious head coverings. It was when Buchanan spoke in Cleveland, Ohio, and not far from where the Nazi Demjanjuk called home.
I can only paraphrase President George Bush in saying, "You either stand with the Nazis or against them." Buchanan has a history of standing with Nazis, and his article in Human Events was filled with fabrications which stand on the verge of Holocaust denial.
Rather than refuting Buchanan's fantasies one at a time, let's just examine the facts of the case.
1. Demjanjuk has been in the news as a Nazi for more than twenty five years. What sets his case apart is that the Nazi Demjanjuk claimed mistaken identity as his defense.
2. When he was charged in the US with being Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, there were no laws on the books allowing Demjanjuk to be tried for Nazi war crimes, so the US prosecutors could only try to have him deported for lying on his immigration papers. In order to prove Demjanjuk lied, prosecutors had to show that he was someone different; and they proved Nazi Demjanjuk was, in fact, Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.
3. The evidence presented included the Nazi Demjanjuk's ID papers, which were authenticated in the US courts, photographic analysis, eye witnesses who could never forget the face of the murderer of their parents and children, an obvious removal of his SS tattoo, and other Nazi documentation. This evidence has never been discredited in any court.
4. After countless appeals, Demjanjuk was finally deported to Israel to stand trial for the crimes of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, a guard so sadistic that he earned that nickname from the Jewish concentration camp victims for the joy he took in the murder of his victims.
5. Nazi Demjanjuk's career did not start at Treblinka. He volunteered to be trained at Trawniki, which was the Nazi facility where they trained death camp guards, and the Nazi documentation proved it. Demjanjuk was sent to Sobibor where he worked as a Motorman, the person who operated diesel engines from which the exhaust was pumped into a tightly packed room of Jews, to suffocate them with carbon monoxide. Nazi Demjanjuk was so good at his job that he was promoted to Treblinka, a concentration camp dedicated to the murder of children. Yes, it took a special breed of evil to commit the mass murder of children, and Demjanjuk was the man who operated the diesel engine to gas children to death en masse.
6. In Israel, Demjanjuk was convicted of in fact being Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka. There were automatic appeals, including a final automatic appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, which reviewed the sentence only, not the conviction. This was used by the Demjanjuk family to obfuscate the facts of Nazi Demjanjuk's stance in Israel. First, while the US standard is "guilt beyond reasonable doubt" even in capital murder cases, Israel's standard of guilt is beyond all doubt - a much tougher standard than in the US.
Still, Demjanjuk's lawyers submitted a letter by another Nazi guard who worked with him at Sobibor, but that guard did not move on to Treblinka as Nazi Demjanjuk did, so it could neither confirm nor deny Demjanjuk's Treblinka service. Demjanjuk, through his lawyers and in order to save his life, made a proverbial "Hail Mary pass" - admitting his guilt as a Nazi, but now claiming to be a different Nazi. The new evidence came from someone who just had no idea where Demjanjuk went after Sobibor, but it did not negate the Treblinka service for which he was specifically tried in Israel.
7. Since there was now minuscule doubt if Nazi Demjanjuk was in Treblika - only because someone who split up with him just did not know where he went after Sobibor - the ISC had to overturn his death sentence - but not his conviction. For the following two weeks, Israel had to reconcile the fact that there was no alternative sentencing allowed under Israeli law for Nazis other than hanging; Israeli law simply did not allow jail for them. As a result, Israel had no choice under its law but to return Demjanjuk to the US while he remained a convicted Nazi in Israel.
8. The Demjanjuk family then made the public claim that Israel could not convict Demjanjuk, therefore the Nazi must be innocent; but nothing could be further from the truth. Nazi Demjanjuk was released from Israel on a technicality, not for a lack of guilt. Still, Holocaust deniers used the case to say that since Israel could not convict the Nazi Demjanjuk, then the Holocaust must be a lie.
His conviction of lying on his immigration papers was reaffirmed, as was his identification as Ivan the Terrible.
9. Demjanjuk returned to US courts, where his conviction of lying on his immigration papers was reaffirmed, as was his identification as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka. The evidence in the US courts has never been negated in any way, shape or form.
In the meantime, Nazi Demjanjuk has appealed and requested every delay possible; now we have health claims as the basis for more appeals and delays. Buchanan may like to live in a dream world, but Demjanjuk has stood, and still stands, as a sadistic Nazi death camp guard in both US and Israeli courts.
There is no statute of limitations on murder. Since we prosecuted Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer for tens of murders, how much more so should we vigorously prosecute the murderer of hundreds of thousands at Treblinka, and even the 29,000 murders Nazi Demjanjuk took part in at the Sobibor death camp?
As for "The True Hater", Buchanan wins that title for himself for defending the Nazi Demjanjuk for crimes Demjanjuk himself admitted before the Israeli Supreme Court - namely, being a Nazi mass murderer. Yes, Demjanjuk has no defense and those who claim otherwise have simply elevated themselves to the level of certified Holocaust denier, since they deny guilt for crimes which the Nazi himself confessed to; thus, the only way Demjanjuk could be innocent is if the Holocaust never happened, which Buchanan apparently openly believes.