Sobibor was a concentration death camp, that was in existence for eighteen months during World War II. Approximately one hundred germans, and two hundred prisoners of war, formerly members of the soviet army (mostly ukrainians), operated the camp. Each and every german outranked each, every and all ukrainians, et alia. The ukrainians were prisoners of war. Prisoners of war do not create policy for their captors.What is Germany's interest? Have they tried another ukrainian guard before? Is there an element of double jeopardy? What prompted Germany to prosecute, now?
The germans have tried some of the geman personnel. The vast majority were either freed, or spent less time in prison than Demjanjuk had in Israel. The russians, under the USSR, tried some ukrainian guards, most were killed by the state under the imposed, death penalties.
Israel had Demjanjuk tried as Ivan Marchenko, a notorious guard at Treblinka's camp. There were eyewitnesses, Treblinka survivors, who testified, that, Demjanjuk was Marchenko.
Demjanjuk lived in Indiana, and then the Cleveland (Ohio) area, from 1952 to 1986, after which he was deported to Israel. In 1988 he was sentenced to death. In 1993 the Supreme Court found doubt, and he was returned to the US.
In the 1970s the US's Immigration service wanted Fedor Fedorenko, a former Treblinka guard, deported, and Demjanjuk's picture came up. In 1977 Demjanjuk was targeted for revocation of citizenship. This came to be a cause célèbre, that has not ended in the Cleveland area. A few hours ago the US had a plane carry Demjanjuk to Germany. He is now imprisoned in Munich.
[How to write the rest of this without being accused of being an anti-semite?] (I am not writing a dissertation, and am not going through old newspapers, so I am not researching each date.) Somewhere along the timeline CBS's 60 Minutes, gathered the evidence, witnesses, et cetera, to show that Marchenko was dead. Youngstown, Ohio area congressman James Trafficant (currently imprisoned) became involved in the case.
In Israel, the trial was a spectacle. A defense lawyer was attacked with acid, if I remember correctly. It was a show trial. It was propaganda. It was used to impress young israelis, and the outside world.
In Cleveland from 1977 on, though waning at each new chapter, sides were drawn. Vocal jews and zionists wanted centerstage. Some ukrainians counter demonstrated. The local news media followed attentively. It has again made the news. There is an absolute presumption of guilt by many, to whom this is new to, and the local media does not have to look far to present an angry, jewish voice.
What came out was--that, at some point in time, it came apparent to Israel, and the US, that Demjanjuk was innocent of the charges accused. Then the point became that none of that mattered. If he was not that Ivan, then he was another Ivan. Still now, the unrelenting arguments are to imprison, and try him. The past judicial mistakes are glossed over, denied, or equivocated away. The US's contention is, that, he lied in his documentation in 1951, therefore...
Is there a word that we don't have, or my memory can not grasp? What word is there for the inability to abide, and allow to exist, someone that you want destroyed? an imperiousness of hauteur and hatred? a vindictive vengeance? an invincible spite? Perhaps english needs to borrow. There is a strong, german word for spite, ‘gehässig’. These instances do not occur only on a human level, but also, on an institutional level: the power of the state of its highest reluctance to admit error, its overweening desire, and feeling of intensive necessity to execute its will, regardless, irrespective and irrationally, but completely.
addendum: 14 May '09. This is not the only example. Don Siegelmann was the governor of Alabama. Karl Rove, and Republican lawyers and judges under his control, had him imprisoned. Since then, in March, a three judge panel threw out two charges. They permitted some of the rubbish. Now the busheviks want Siegelmann to receive an even, longer sentence. Justice has little place in the Justice Department, political vendettas and gehässiglich gall trump justice.
Perhaps, the foremost reason I detested the eight years of the imposed bushevik regime was its total disregard for the law, after all, it was not legally installed. Now, Obama and his attorney general Holder have the opportunity to uphold the Constitution and other laws. They have done little, not nothing, but little to this point. This is why it is is so ridiculous, that the anti-Democratic party holds so much venom for Obama, and the Democracy.
postscriptum: Demjanjuk died 17 March 2012 in Germany waiting appeal of a conviction in a German show trial. I have encountered many people claiming his guilt a priori, and totally disregard the myriad irregularities of his prosecutions. Guilt has been assigned.