Alleged Nazi John Demjanjuk Will Stand Trial in Germany

Germany's highest court rules that deportation of the alleged Nazi was legal.

PASSAU, Germany, July 8, 2009 — -- Alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk lost yet another legal battle today.

His attempt to legally challenge his recent deportation from the United States to Germany, where he is to stand trial on charges that he was an accessory to the murder of Jews during World War II, was denied by Germany's highest court.

The German Constitutional Court refused to take up Demjanjuk's challenge.

"Mr. Demjanjuk's appeal is not substantiated," court spokeswoman Anja Kesting said. "The court has out-ruled his claim that his basic rights have been violated by his deportation from the United States as unfounded and therefore it has decided it will not accept his appeal for review."

Munich-based prosecutors accuse 89-year-old John Demjanjuk of Cleveland of being an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews and others at the Sobibor death camp in what was then Nazi-occupied Poland. They say they have proof that he was also trained at a facility for Nazi guards at Trawniki, also in Poland.

Demjanjuk's photo identification card, which puts him at the Sobibor camp at the time, was recently verified by German investigators and it will serve as an important piece of evidence in the upcoming trial.

Prosecutors, however, also found witnesses who will testify that he was a member of the so-called Vlasov Army, a group of Russian volunteers who did the Nazis' dirty work in the death camps in the occupied areas of Eastern Europe during World War II.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, a retired U.S. autoworker, has denied the German prosecutor's charges from day one.

He says he's innocent of the charges against him and that he has never been to the Sobibor camp. He says he was a Red Army soldier who spent World War II as a Nazi prisoner of war and never hurt anyone.

Demjanjuk Trial Could Begin in the Fall

After the war, he found a job as a truck driver in a displaced persons camp in southern Germany, where his past was never an issue.

He met his wife, Vera, and the couple had a daughter, Lydia.

In January 1952, the couple applied for permission to immigrate to America, where they arrived on board the USS General Haan, a former troop transporter.

U.S. authorities granted Demjanjuk citizenship in 1958 and the family moved to Ohio, where he began working for the Ford Motor Co.

The couple had two other children, Irene and John Jr., and the family moved to a small house in the Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills, where they still live today and from where he was deported to Germany.

This is not the first time, though, that Demjanjuk will have to stand trial.

He was deported to Israel in 1986 to face charges that he was "Ivan the Terrible," the notorious Nazi henchman in charge of the gas chambers at Treblinka concentration camp, where more than 850,000 Jews were murdered during the war.

Treblinka camp survivors had testified that he was the man in a photograph of a Nazi guard known by that name.

Demjanjuk was convicted by Israel's War Crimes Court in 1988 and sentenced to death.

But the conviction was later overturned by Israel's Supreme Court, when new evidence showed another man was likely to be "Ivan the Terrible" and Demjanjuk was able to return to the United States as a free man.

He has been fighting his deportation from the United States in a long legal battle that lasted almost seven years.

He was declared fit to stand trial last week after he underwent a series of medical checks at the medical facilities at Munich Stadelheim prison and today's decision by Germany's highest court means that there is no more legal hurdles that prevents him from standing trial.

Prosecutors say they will formally charge him before the end of the month, setting the stage for a possible fall trial.