Former Nazi Guard John Demjanjuk to Be Buried in the United States

Demjanjuk died in Germany last Saturday at age of 91; Jewish groups fear his grave would become a neo-Nazi shrine.

Former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk, who died in Germany over the weekend after being convicted last year of killings in a Nazi death camp, is to be buried in the United States, a German undertaker and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The funeral home in Bavaria, which has been hired by the Demjanjuk family, said the body of the 91-year-old would be flown next week to Cleveland, Ohio.

Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk arrives in a courtroom in Munich April 13, 2011. Credit: Reuters

"He's going back, that's for sure," said a funeral home spokesman.

Ukraine-born Demjanjuk, who entered the United States in 1952, had been stripped of U.S. citizenship in 2004 and was stateless.

The U.S .consulate in Munich said it was "providing consular assistance to Mr. Demjanjuk's family."

The United States extradited Demjanjuk to Germany in 2009 to face trial.

A Munich court sentenced him in May to five years' jail for being an accessory to 27,900 murders at Sobibor, a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland, while he was in a guard squad there in 1943. However shortly afterward he was released from custody to live in a German old people's home while his appeal was being processed.

Meanwhile, Jewish advocates fear that Demjanjuk's grave would become a neo-Nazi shrine.

Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting SimonWiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said that a Demjanjuk funeral in his adopted hometown would turn into a spectacle.

"I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who's the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly," Zuroff said in a telephone interview.

Demjanjuk Jr. said in an email yesterday that any suggestion of his father's burial or grave site turning into a spectacle was unwarranted.

"Over the past 35-plus years our family has had no association with any part of the neo-Nazi groups, ever. We have condemned Nazi crimes as my father is himself a victim of the Nazis regardless of whose version of the case you believe," he said.

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