Demjanjuk Not to Be Deported Unless Extradition Is Requested

Ukraine not seeking extradition of Nazi guard due to concerns that trial could raise anti-Semitic sentiments.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeal by convicted Nazi extermination camp guard John Demjanjuk, 88, against the rescinding of his citizenship, he will not be deported unless his extradition is requested.

Demjanjuk's native Ukraine has not sought his extradition, reportedly because of its government's concerns that trying Demjanjuk could raise nationalist and anti-Semitic sentiments. President Viktor Yuschenko apparently wants to avoid this for the sake of his country's image in the West.

In 1988, Demjanjuk was convicted in Israel of being "Ivan the Terrible," a notoriously sadistic guard at the Treblinka concentration camp. The High Court of Justice overturned his conviction after a document emerged revealing that Demjanjuk had served as a camp guard in Sobibor rather than Treblinka.

Israel is not likely to seek his extradition, in order to avoid a repeat of the trial's outcome. The head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, said yesterday, "Israel and the U.S. must pressure the Ukranians not to evade their responsibility, and to demand Demjanjuk's extradition."

Among those in Israel who believe Demjanjuk is "Ivan the Terrible" is Professor Shlomo Arad, former Yad Vashem chairman, who appeared as an expert witness for the prosecution in the original trial. "Even if the document says he was sent to Sobibor, he certainly could have eventually reached Treblinka," Arad said. "I continue to believe the witness who identified him at the trial."