With news of the death of John Demjanjuk over the weekend, I thought it would be apt to post an essay I wrote on the man last year for a class on the Holocaust. It is unfortunate that the full truth will never be known.
The story of John Demjanjuk is a long one, stretching for nearly half a century. Demjanjuk has long been the bane of Nazi hunters’ existence, and his supposed involvement in the Holocaust and the subsequent trials against him have engendered much controversy. Here is what is known for sure: Demjanjuk is a Ukrainian national who was conscripted to fight for the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany in World War II. He was captured by Germany in May 1942 at the battle of Kerch and was held as a prisoner of war. After the war, in 1952, Demjanjuk moved to the United States and settled in Ohio, working at a Ford auto plant. He was an American citizen from 1958 until his citizenship was revoked in 1977. Beyond this, the case of John Demjanjuk begins to get messy.
Read the rest here.