John Demjanjuk, the Cleveland auto worker convicted as a death camp guard, died in a German nursing home.
Demjanjuk, 91, died Saturday at an old-age home in southern Germany, where he was free while he appealed his conviction last year in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, NPR reported.
Demjanjuk, born and raised in Ukraine, was first identified as “Ivan the Terrible,” a notoriously sadistic guard at the Treblinka death camp, in the 1970s.
In 1986, U.S. authorities deported him to Israel.
A court there sentenced him to death, but during bhis appeal process, the Israeli prosecution uncovered evidence suggesting that another man who had died in the Soviet Gulag in the 1950s was “Ivan.”
The Israeli Supreme Court ordered him released, noting however that substantive evidence emerged during the trial identifying him as a guard at Sobibor.
He returned to Cleveland in 1993, and resisted multiple attempts to strip him of his citizenship and deport him again until U.S. authorities deported him to Germany in 2009.
There he was convicted in May 2010 for his crimes in Sobibor, and was sentence to five years in prison.
John Demjanjuk’s son, John Demjanjuk Jr. said on Saturday that his father died as a “victim and survivor of Soviet and German brutality since childhood,” the Associated Press reported.
“He loved life, his family and humanity,” Demjanjuk Jr. told AP. “History will show Germany used him as a scapegoat to blame helpless Ukrainian POWs for the deeds of Nazi Germans.”
This story "John Demjanjuk, Nazi Camp Guard, Dies" was written by JTA.