The Spectacle Blog

The Case Against Demjanjuk and Buchanan

By on 4.15.09 | 8:00AM

My post on Pat Buchanan's vile defense of Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk has generated a number of responses from those who agree with Buchanan that there isn't much evidence against Demjanjuk. (One commenter even decried "hysteria about the Holocaust.")

For those who remain unconvinced, I suggest you take a look at the 2002 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Paul R. Matia, which stood up on appeal. It contains 294 findings of fact detailing the documentary evidence that placed Demjanjuk as a guard at several Nazi concentration camps, including the Sobibor death camp.

Among the evidence presented was an identity pass issued to a person who, like Demjanjuk, was former soldier in the Soviet Army who was captured and trained by the Nazis to serve as a guard. The person in the identity pass bears a striking resemblance to Demjanjuk, shares his name, exact birth date and birthplace, father's name, hair and eye color. Below, I've posted an image of the pass, as well as a close up of the Nazi ID photo placed next to a 2006 photo of Demjanjuk, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

(For a larger version of this image, click here.)

Additional documents (such as a disciplinary report, rosters, and logs) placed the person appearing in the identity pass as a guard at the Majdanek, Flossenburg and Sobibor camps.

Judge Matia noted that the "guards assigned to Sobibor met arriving transports of Jews, forcibly unloaded the Jews from the trains, compelled them to disrobe, and drove them into gas chambers where they were murdered by asphyxiation with carbon monoxide… In serving at Sobibor, Defendant contributed to the process by which thousands of Jews were murdered…"

Furthermore, evidence presented by prosecutors, along with Demjanjuk's inconsistent explanations, led the judge to determine that Demjanjuk "misrepresented and concealed his wartime residences for the purpose of gaining admission into the United States…"

Judge Matia concluded:

The government had the burden of proving its contention to the Court by clear, convincing, and unequivocal evidence. It did so. Although the Court carefully considered the evidence submitted by defendant to attempt to keep the government from satisfying its burden, the defendant's evidence was not sufficiently credible to cast doubt on the documentary evidence.

The decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2004, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case last year.

It's bad enough that Buchanan is rising to defend Demjanjuk, but his column is an example of classic Jew-baiting. He attempts to paint contemporary Jews as hypocrites by referring to Demjanjuk as an "American Dreyfus," a reference to the to the high-profile case of anti-Semitism and injustice. This is the typical, "see, Jews aren't victims, they're persecutors," tactic routinely employed by anti-Semites.

Then Buchanan concluded his column by comparing Demjanjuk to Jesus Christ, and invoking the old anti-Semitic smear of Jews as "Christ killers."

Buchanan wrote:

The spirit behind this un-American persecution has never been that of justice tempered by mercy. It is the same satanic brew of hate and revenge that drove another innocent Man up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago.

I can't exactly say this surprises me, but Buchanan really reached a new low with this effort.

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