Richard Moore: No mercy for this Nazi

By Straight Talk - by Richard Moore

The little Polish town of Sobibor is a small collection of buildings and homes nestled right on the border with Ukraine.
It is everything you would picture in a rural eastern European village with a brick manor house, lots of farmland and interesting houses in various states of repair.
One eye-catching building is a large wooden church with an angled roof and red-brown stained walls.
The village looks like just the place to stop in and maybe get a cheap bed for the night while travelling through Poland.
However, one would suggest there'd be too many ghosts around the town of Sobibor for a good night's sleep - courtesy of the German death camp that will forever be associated with it.
More than 200,000 people were murdered in Sobibor during World War II. They were the usual suspects - Jews from many nations, boosted by thousands of Soviet prisoners of war.
They would arrive by train, no doubt buoyed by the pretty countryside, would get off and then be processed for the transit camp they were told they were entering.
They'd strip, hand over their valuables and then walk along a tree-lined road named Himmelstrasse - the Road to Heaven.
It was 100 metres long and at the end of it there were some buildings that were for the new arrivals to take baths and undergo disinfection.
In fact they were gas chambers, connected to the exhaust pipes of tanks.
Into those chambers they were led by guards of various nationalities and, after being gassed, it was from those places their bodies were taken.
Hundreds of people collaborated in killing those poor people and one of those was a man called Ivan Demyanyuk.
He was a Ukrainian, but his anglicised first name was John.


In 1977, John Demyanyuk was identified by five Holocaust survivors as being one of the guards at the Sobibor extermination camp.
In 1983, Israel fought to have him extradited to their territory to face charges under the Nazi Collaborators Act.
He went on trial in 1986 and, in 1988, was sentenced to death for his part in the Nazi mass murder of millions of Jews.
In 1993 the Israeli Supreme Court overturned the penalty because of a possible false identification of Ivan Demyanyuk.
The defence claimed the man he was supposed to be - known as Ivan the Terrible - was named by 37 former concentration camp guards as Ivan Marchenko.
The court relented.
The judges didn't know that Demjanjuk's mother's maiden name was Marchenko.
The former Nazi got away with his crimes then, but last week a German court found him guilty of being an accessory to 28,060 counts of murder at Sobibor.
To concentration camp victims it was a victory and they celebrated.
However, their joy did not last long as the German court released the 91-year-old, awaiting an appeal, because of his age and ill health.
That sickens me.
The Nazis and their collaborators didn't care about the age or health of the millions they slaughtered.
They took babies from their mothers' arms and crushed their skulls with rifle butts or against door frames, took young women to use as prostitutes and the elderly weren't seen as grandparents, just non-productive beings to be done away with.
And people like Demyanyuk helped in the process.
No one who had a part in that dreadful genocide deserves any sympathy and I don't care how many decades have passed since their complicity in atrocities.
They should all be hunted down.
They had no thoughts for those they massacred and we should have little thought about punishing them.
Age and ill health should not provide mercy for those merciless animals.
And it should not be granted to Demyanyuk who, for more than 65 years, has been allowed to live a life that so many others were unable to.
It is lucky for Demyanyuk and his ilk that he lives in a world that now thinks more of rehabilitating criminals than punishing them.
But there is no need to rehabilitate Demyanyuk, as the German court's actions have allowed him to get away with his crimes.
When he was a young man, he killed the weak, the unwanted and the sick.
Now he is an old man, he should be put down like a rabid dog.
richard@richardmoore.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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