Germany charges Nazi guard with 28,000 Jew deaths

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The Independent Online

German prosecutors today charged suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk with helping to kill about 28,000 Jews in World War Two, in what will be one of Germany's last big Nazi-era war crimes cases.





"State prosecutors in Munich have today charged the 89-year-old John Demjanjuk as an accessory to murder in a total of 27,900 cases," prosecutors said in a statement.



Prosecutors said Demjanjuk, who has been held in a jail in southern Germany since 12 May after he was deported from the United States, would be tried at a court in Munich.



The court could not give details on when the trial would take place, though lawyers for the prosecution and the defence have previously said autumn could be feasible.



Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who denies any role in the Holocaust, was deemed fit by medical experts to stand trial despite protestations from his family that he is too frail.



"Doctors recommend that the hearings should be restricted to two sessions of 90 minutes per day," prosecutors said.



Demjanjuk tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of its 10 most-wanted suspected war criminals. They say he pushed men, women and children into gas chambers at the Sobibor death camp in what is today Poland.



The retired auto worker has said he was drafted into the Soviet army in 1941, became a German prisoner of war and later became a guard in German prison camps.



Demjanjuk was stripped of his U.S. citizenship after he was accused in the 1970s of being "Ivan the Terrible", a notoriously sadistic guard at the Treblinka death camp.



He was extradited to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death in 1988, but Israel's Supreme Court overturned his conviction when new evidence showed another man was probably "Ivan".



The accused regained his citizenship, but the U.S. Justice Department refiled its case against him in 1999, arguing he had worked for the Nazis as a guard at three other death camps. His citizenship was stripped from him again in 2002.

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