Deported Nazi war crimes suspect John Demjanjuk arrived in Germany on Tuesday after he was removed from his home in Ohio on Monday.
He landed at the Munich airport about 9 a.m. local time Tuesday (0700 GMT). He had been taken by ambulance to the airport in Cleveland, Ohio. A Gulfstream jet carrying Demjanjuk departed about 7 p.m. ET (0100 GMT Tuesday). Demjanjuk, 89, is wanted by German authorities for his alleged involvement during World War II in killings at Sobibor, a Nazi death camp in Poland. His deportation closes a chapter in one of the longest-running pursuits of an alleged Holocaust perpetrator in history. It also sets the stage for what would likely prove to be an extraordinary German war crimes trial. The Supreme Court last Thursday denied a stay of deportation for Demjanjuk. Justice John Paul Stevens without comment refused to intervene in the planned transfer from the United States. Federal courts rejected his appeals, and the order from Stevens cleared the way for the Justice Department to move ahead with the deportation. Demjanjuk’s lawyers had asked the high court to consider their claims that he was too ill and frail to be sent overseas. They also raised human rights and other legal issues in their last-minute appeal. A German court last Wednesday had also ruled against a request for a stay. Officials in Berlin have issued an arrest warrant charging Demjanjuk with being an accessory to the murder of about 29,000 civilians at Sobibor in 1943.
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The native Ukrainian has long claimed he was a prisoner of war, not a death camp guard. U.S. immigration officers previously entered Demjanjuk’s Cleveland-area home on April 14, and carried him out in his wheelchair to a waiting van. He was held for a few hours and then returned to his residence after a federal appeals court ruled temporarily in his favor. Demjanjuk appealed unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court last year. He was once accused by the United States and Israel of being a notoriously brutal S.S. guard at the Treblinka camp known as “Ivan the Terrible.” After appeals, that allegation was eventually dropped by both countries, but later other allegations were made against him.