With the pursuit of Demjanjuk, Germany seeks justice and a measure of redemption
The suspected Nazi death camp guard was flown to Munich Tuesday. His may be the country's last World War II war-crimes trial.
John Demjanjuk, the former US resident accused of being a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II, arrived in Germany Tuesday to stand trial on charges that he played a role in the murder of 29,000 Jews.
Mr. Demjanjuk's deportation closes a decades-long effort to bring him to justice, while the prospect of a Nazi-era war crimes trial here – perhaps the last Germany will ever conduct – seems likely to rekindle the kind of national soul-searching about a troubled past that never seems too far below the surface of everyday German life.
"There are probably many of the older generation that would love to say 'enough with this,' with going after Nazis," says Martin Gajewski, an administrator in Berlin who's been following the Demjanjuk case. "But it's impossible for us to stop prosecuting them, because that would be like laughing at the victims."
Demjanjuk, an 89-year-old retired autoworker who had been living in the suburbs of Cleveland, was taken into the custody of US immigration and Homeland Security authorities on Monday. He flew on a private jet to Munich, where German authorities met him and transferred him to a medical facility attached to the Stadelheim prison in the German state of Bavaria.
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