Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
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12-05-2011, 12:31 PM
Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
John Demjanjuk guilty of Nazi death camp murders

(full article) courtesy of BBC news:

A German court has found John Demjanjuk guilty of helping to murder more than 28,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp in World War II.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, one year less than prosecutors had asked for, but will be released pending a possible appeal.
Prosecutors said the Ukraine-born Demjanjuk, 91, was a guard at Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.
He denied serving as a guard, saying he was a prisoner of war and a victim too.

Born in Ukraine in 1920, Demjanjuk grew up under Soviet rule.
He was a soldier in the Red Army in 1942 when he was captured by the Germans.
Prosecutors had argued he was recruited by the Germans to be an SS camp guard and that by working at a death camp he was a participant in the killings. No evidence was produced that he committed a specific crime.



Apart from the lack of real evidence, do you think he should still be punished?

And what would you have done if you were a POW transfered to concentration camp? Would you have helped the nazi's to have a chance of survival? Or would have refused and probably be killed, but with a clear conscience?






"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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12-05-2011, 01:36 PM
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
This was a pretty tough case. A lot of the witnesses who originally identified him back in the 90s had not seen him in over 40 years. Eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable to begin with, so relying on recollections from over 4 decades earlier is a bit dubious and, I think, enough to create reasonable doubt if that was the sole evidence against him. However, it wasn't.

For me, the toughest part of his story is how it kept changing. He went from not being the guy and it being a case of wrongful identification to the last defense where he was forced to do it in order to save his own life. I find that difficult to accept. I can understand someone who was forced to collaborate with the Nazis in the form of giving them information or even maybe working against their own family or friends. I can see how that type of coercion can happen and I can't say that I would be brave enough to face a painful death rather than cooperate so I'm really not in a position to condemn someone else for not being strong enough to do it.

Being a trusted guard at a concentration camp, however, is a little different. you're no longer just saving your own life, but you are also an active participant. So, Demjanjuk's defense is basically "yes, I did it but if I did not do it then they would have killed me too". Perhaps that is true, although that seems dubious to me. But, the people who are accusing him are not claiming he was just an unwilling participant. The claim is that he happily and gleefully and sadistically engaged in the torture and eventual execution of thousands of people. The SS may have been able to stick him on a line and tell him what to do or risk being shot. The zeal with which he apparently engaged in his new duties is entirely upon him.

Given how his story changed, I lean towards believing he's guilty of being exactly what he's accused of being. I suppose it is possible that he was just a frightened old man who originally lied out of fear but given the US government was first looking at his history and how he got to the US since the early 80s, and that he could have brought up the "help or die" defense much earlier and only when he had no choice did he start conceding that he was there and a participant, I just find it tough to believe him.

So, given that I think he's probably exactly what he's accused of being then yes, absolutely, I think the bastard should be punished. Time may eventually heal all wounds but not enough time has passed to heal the wound of the senseless and malicious slaughter of tends of thousands of innocent people. Let the bastard rot.

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12-05-2011, 03:35 PM
 
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
(12-05-2011 12:31 PM)Thammuz Wrote:  
John Demjanjuk guilty of Nazi death camp murders...



Apart from the lack of real evidence, do you think he should still be punished?

And what would you have done if you were a POW transfered to concentration camp? Would you have helped the nazi's to have a chance of survival? Or would have refused and probably be killed, but with a clear conscience?

I think it's optimistic that at his age, he'd live to serve out 5 years. Or that even on appeal, he'll again see the free light of day.

As to your questions, I think there had to be enough evidence in order to file a case against him in the first place. Witnesses die, yes. However, if he was a guard at a concentration camp he should be prosecuted because they were death camps.

I can't answer as to what I would do if I were a POW. It would be projection from the safe confines of my house, in America. Not the real thing at all.
One never knows what they'll do in order to survive the horrors of such places as most of us have only read about. It's important to note however, that prisoners helped the Germans while incarcerated in the camps. They were like unto "Trustees" in prisons today.
Should they be prosecuted for assisting in that what transpired as the extermination of fellow condemned inmates? Gays, Christians, fellow Germans, Jews, etc...?

It's a horrific history that will live in the archives of the world histories forever. However, until the last person alive during that suffering is dead, I don't think we'll ever hear the end of it. Of what should be done, of who should be prosecuted, of where justice begins and ends.

Hitler sought to command the world under his national socialist agenda. Ironically, while his Reich didn't last those 1000 years he planned for, the legacy he created
probably will.
And that there are countries today wherein it is prosecutable, illegal, to deny the Holocaust, he'd be proud that there are laws in place to make sure no one ever forgets, because no one can possibly ever voice doubt aloud. Sounds familiar, in a fascist sort of way. I guess that's irony too.
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12-05-2011, 04:46 PM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2011 11:55 PM by Thammuz.)
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
(12-05-2011 03:35 PM)GassyKitten Wrote:  It's important to note however, that prisoners helped the Germans while incarcerated in the camps. They were like unto "Trustees" in prisons today.

The Kapo's were alot different from the trustees. A trustee is mostly a prisoner with good behaviour that can be trusted with certain tasks.

Kapo's, mostly green triangles, on the other hand were often 'Berufsverbrecher' (career criminals) and total psychopaths that were used to maintain order instead of rotting in regular prisons. Kapo was a desired job as they got extra rations and were spared from hard labour. Although the nazi's often disposed of them too.

But there was also the 'Sonderkommando' (special unit) that was responsable for the "processing" of all 'Unerw├╝nschten' (unwanted people). They led the people to the gas chambers, took their clothes, dragged the dead bodies to the crematorium, pulled out gold teeth and took remaining valuables. For this job, they got better housing and food (and were all killed as well every few months).
But these guys also participated in the nazi mass killings. Were they also guilty?

There are also reports of SS-guards being lashed because they weren't harsh enough on the KZ-inmates. Maybe they realized the madness too late? They couldn't run away, and they would be severely punished after the liberation.

In my opinion, the peer pressure and the strict obedience to the F├╝hrerprinzip is what caused so many people to commit these atrocities. Yes, there was alot of wrongdoing and horrible massacres. But I don't believe that everyone who participated in it was thoroughly evil, but the system was. Maybe Demjanjuk was one of them, maybe he was a cool blooded killer, who knows?

Reminds me of the Milgram experiment; it showed us there was a killer nazi in most of us. Social psychology is really fascinating, as well as WW2 history.

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12-05-2011, 06:33 PM
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
This one hit close to home, as he lived in my area before being deported. I feel bad for him. Even if I suppose he did what they say he did, I feel bad for him. I won't excuse him for it if he did it, but the man is 91 for crying out loud. Just what good will it do locking up this senior citizen? Is it comforting somebody, this new pound of flesh on the scale? I'll bet somewhere somebody was high-fiving somebody else and saying "Yeah! We got the nazi bastard!" Real good job loser, you took down a 91 year old. Try taking on someone your own age.

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12-05-2011, 06:40 PM
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
And that 91 year old was responsible for the murder of children when he was in his 20s.

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12-05-2011, 08:06 PM
 
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
(12-05-2011 06:33 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  This one hit close to home, as he lived in my area before being deported. I feel bad for him. Even if I suppose he did what they say he did, I feel bad for him. I won't excuse him for it if he did it, but the man is 91 for crying out loud. Just what good will it do locking up this senior citizen? Is it comforting somebody, this new pound of flesh on the scale? I'll bet somewhere somebody was high-fiving somebody else and saying "Yeah! We got the nazi bastard!" Real good job loser, you took down a 91 year old. Try taking on someone your own age.

Way to miss the point behind justice! [Image: 7.gif]

By that logic, Klan bastards that killed children by burning a church to the ground decades ago should be excused from paying for their crimes because they were lucky enough to live to be old racist bastards!

While in this case, that 91 year old former Nazi lived near 70 years longer than the children, women and men he helped to exterminate, so that he could live a little bit longer as a free man, enjoying the liberties and freedoms he never fought to achieve for himself, but instead ripped away from the victims of a Nazi machine that determined certain communities of people weren't deserving of life, because they didn't fit the ideal model of that race what did!

What perfect justice that the last moments of his life are to be spent in a cell, looking out of a barred window, at the freedom he'll never know again that shines brilliant and sun filled on the other side of a wall he'll not ever live to step past!

It's his retro-experience, for what his victims suffered living the same way in putrid shacks, behind walls guarded by Nazi's, Shepard dogs and machine guns! While the brilliance of sun was obscured by the clouds of black acrid smoke churning from the crematorium as countless bodies were turned to ash after having been gassed so as to save the bullets it would have otherwise required to shoot them dead. So that instead of dropping like flies, innocent condemned people contorted into inhuman shapes, and suffocated because their lungs did the same.

Hell yes, what a shame that old bastard responsible, has lived this long free of the justice he had coming. And hell yes again! That he didn't get out of this life, before that justice found him before he could live nearly a century longer than he deserved! May the last thing he see's before his eyes close their last, be the faces of those victims he helped create, welcoming him to the abode he helped make possible.

I hope he screams! Angry


Like they did!Sad
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12-05-2011, 08:39 PM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2011 09:02 PM by cfhmagnet.)
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
(12-05-2011 08:06 PM)GassyKitten Wrote:  
(12-05-2011 06:33 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  This one hit close to home, as he lived in my area before being deported. I feel bad for him. Even if I suppose he did what they say he did, I feel bad for him. I won't excuse him for it if he did it, but the man is 91 for crying out loud. Just what good will it do locking up this senior citizen? Is it comforting somebody, this new pound of flesh on the scale? I'll bet somewhere somebody was high-fiving somebody else and saying "Yeah! We got the nazi bastard!" Real good job loser, you took down a 91 year old. Try taking on someone your own age.

Way to miss the point behind justice! [Image: 7.gif]

By that logic, Klan bastards that killed children by burning a church to the ground decades ago should be excused from paying for their crimes because they were lucky enough to live to be old racist bastards!

While in this case, that 91 year old former Nazi lived near 70 years longer than the children, women and men he helped to exterminate, so that he could live a little bit longer as a free man, enjoying the liberties and freedoms he never fought to achieve for himself, but instead ripped away from the victims of a Nazi machine that determined certain communities of people weren't deserving of life, because they didn't fit the ideal model of that race what did!

What perfect justice that the last moments of his life are to be spent in a cell, looking out of a barred window, at the freedom he'll never know again that shines brilliant and sun filled on the other side of a wall he'll not ever live to step past!

It's his retro-experience, for what his victims suffered living the same way in putrid shacks, behind walls guarded by Nazi's, Shepard dogs and machine guns! While the brilliance of sun was obscured by the clouds of black acrid smoke churning from the crematorium as countless bodies were turned to ash after having been gassed so as to save the bullets it would have otherwise required to shoot them dead. So that instead of dropping like flies, innocent condemned people contorted into inhuman shapes, and suffocated because their lungs did the same.

Hell yes, what a shame that old bastard responsible, has lived this long free of the justice he had coming. And hell yes again! That he didn't get out of this life, before that justice found him before he could live nearly a century longer than he deserved! May the last thing he see's before his eyes close their last, be the faces of those victims he helped create, welcoming him to the abode he helped make possible.

I hope he screams! Angry


Like they did!Sad
Justice is a complex concept with varied interpretations/applications...
I was just musing on whether or not his imprisonment will make the horrors of the holocaust go away, does it really do anything that he may be locked up. (I say may be since they say he was released, pending appeal...ugh, appeal)
Edit: Furthermore, I am much more concerned with "justice" in current issues we are facing rather than something I learned about in history class.

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13-05-2011, 09:18 AM
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
So because you learned about it in history class people who lived through it should not have justice? That's a pretty ridiculous comment and attitude.

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13-05-2011, 10:36 AM
 
RE: Concentration camp guard sentenced to 5 years in prison
(12-05-2011 08:39 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  Justice is a complex concept with varied interpretations/applications...
No, it's not.
justice n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal. (Continues)

Quote:I was just musing on whether or not his imprisonment will make the horrors of the holocaust go away, does it really do anything that he may be locked up. (I say may be since they say he was released, pending appeal...ugh, appeal)
Edit: Furthermore, I am much more concerned with "justice" in current issues we are facing rather than something I learned about in history class.

So, that someone escaped being brought to justice, made to pay for their multiple count offenses during the Holocaust that lasted January 30, 1933 to May 8, 1945, that today in 2011 they should be pardoned from having to pay for ending the lives of children,women and men in a mass extermination project?

Just because all that time passed and it's not all that important to you, because it's what amounts to ancient history?
How about this. How about let's say someone murders your entire family today.
And they escape and police have no clues, no leads and no suspects. And that assailant lives free of facing charges for destroying everyone that you hold dear, until 2050, when they slip up and are finally caught.

Should police ignore them, because what they did nearly 40 years ago is something most cops, Jurists, District Attorneys, Defense Lawyers and potential Juror's can only remember vaguely due to old newspaper headlines nearly 4 decades old?

At this very moment John Demjanjuk has lived one more day than any one of his victims, during the Holocaust. He's witnessed grandchildren the babies and children he helped murder will never know. He's experienced relationships the men and women he helped slaughter, were ripped away from as families were separated in the camps and led off to be immediately murdered, or to serve as slave labor until they succumbed to starvation and/or disease.

John Demjanjuk, is 91 years old. That's something those in the camp he worked in can't say. Because John Demjanjuk, shut them up forever. Somehow, I don't think those victims families today, think that early 20th century history that you only know from history books, should be ignored and isn't prosecutable. Then again, I'm the optimist that thinks John Demjanjuk victims have family that are alive today so as to read of his arrest and conviction.
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