Kislev 28, 5766
CLEVELAND - A United States
immigration judge Wednesday ordered John Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker
accused of being a Nazi concentration camp guard, deported to his native
Demjanjuk, 85, has been fighting for nearly 30 years to stay in the U.S. During the long legal battle, he was suspected for a time of being the notoriously brutal guard known as Ivan the Terrible and was nearly executed in Israel.
Chief U.S. Immigration Judge Michael Creppy ruled that there was no evidence to substantiate Demjanjuk's claim that he would be tortured if deported to his homeland.
Demjanjuk can appeal the ruling to the Board of Immigration Appeals within 30 days.
"After 30 years, it appears that some measure of justice
has finally been achieved," said Elan Steinberg, executive
director emeritus of the New York-based World Jewish Congress.
"And I say 'some measure of justice' because, after all, we're talking about somebody who was found to have been a Nazi persecutor," Steinberg said in a telephone interview.
"All that is happening to him, really, is that he's been stripped of his citizenship and is being deported to Ukraine.
Demjanjuk lost his U.S. citizenship after a judge ruled in 2002 that documents from World War II prove he was a Nazi guard at various death or forced labor camps.
His attorney had argued at a hearing last month that sending Demjanjuk back to Ukraine would be like throwing him "into a shark tank."
The United States first tried to deport Demjanjuk in 1977, accusing him of being Ivan the Terrible at the Treblinka concentration camp in Poland.
Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel, convicted and sentenced to hang, but the Israeli Supreme Court found that someone else apparently was Ivan.
Demjanjuk returned to the United States and his U.S. citizenship was restored before being lifted again.
The current case is based on evidence uncovered by the Justice Department alleging he was a different guard. Demjanjuk has denied the allegations.
"Whether he was Ivan the Terrible or some other terrible
person, is really irrelevant," said the World Jewish Congress' Steinberg. "The facts are clear and, at last, we have achieved some justice," he added.