Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pat Buchanan watch

Once again, Pat Buchanan is defending a convicted war criminal: The persecution of John Demjanjuk. He seems to think that serving as a guard at Sobibor, a death camp, did not necessarily involve one in the process of mass murder.

His duty card says that on March 27, 1943, he was ordered to Sobibor.

The judge in the case, Judge Alt, "said that it was impossible for anyone to have worked at Sobibor and not be part of the Nazi death machinery. Every one of the guards 'knew he was part of an organization with no other purpose but mass murder,' the judge said."
Some 64 years after the end of World War II, there were no witnesses to testify to Mr. Demjanjuk's presence at the camp or the specific crimes he stands accused of committing there.

Prosecutors turned instead to an SS identity card and the orders sending Mr. Demjanjuk to Sobibor from the Trawniki training camp for Nazi guards. Mr. Demjanjuk's lawyers questioned the authenticity of the documents.

Because Sobibor was an extermination camp — devoted almost entirely to killing — rather than a concentration camp, work as a guard there meant assisting in mass murder, prosecutors argued.

Mr. Demjanjuk, who was born in Ukraine, was a soldier in the Soviet Army, fighting against the Germans, until he was captured in the Crimea in 1942.

He says he spent most of the remainder of the war as a prisoner. But according to prosecutors, he went to an SS training camp in Trawniki, Poland, where foreign nationals were trained to work in the death camps.

The Sobibor Camp

Some 250,000 Jews were killed at Sobibor, most of them poisoned with engine exhaust fumes containing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The camp was closed after an uprising in 1943.

According to the indictment, Sobibor was staffed at any given time with between 20 and 30 German SS members and between 100 and 150 former Soviet prisoners, known as Trawniki men.

The case against Mr. Demjanjuk involves some 15 transport trains known to have arrived between April and July 1943 from the Westerbork concentration camp in the Netherlands, carrying 29,579 people. Prosecutors charged Mr. Demjanjuk with 27,900 counts based on the theory that some must have died in transit or been spared for a time to work at the camp.

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