Join Our Mailing List

Sponsor Us!

John Demjanjuk:
Timeline of Events in the United States

(2002 - 2011)


Demjanjuk: Table of Contents | Biography | "Ivan the Terrible"


Print Friendly and PDF

February 21, 2002 - Loses U.S. Citizenship

A U.S. judge revoked the citizenship of John Demjanjuk after prosecutors successfully argued that he had fraudulently become an American citizen after World War II by concealing his past as a guard at several Nazi concentration camps. Demjanjuk, 81, lost his citizenship in 1981 when it was believed he was the Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible" from Treblinka. He was extradited to Israel in 1986 to stand trial for crimes against humanity. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1988. After spending five years on death row, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled there was reasonable doubt that he was Ivan and ordered that he be released. Demjanjuk returned to the U.S. where prosecutors had found additional evidence to prove that although he wasn't Ivan, he had been a guard at other camps.

April 30, 2004 - Court Rules Demjanjuk was Nazi Guard

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2002 decision by a Cleveland federal judge to strip 84-year-old retired autoworker John Demjanjuk of U.S. citizenship, saying the government proved he served as a guard in Nazi concentration camps.

``We find that the plaintiff, the United States of America, sustained its burden of proving through clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence that defendant, in fact, served as a guard at several Nazi training and concentration camps during World War II,'' appeals Judge Eric Clay wrote. ``We concur with the district court that he was not legally eligible to obtain citizenship under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.''

December 28, 2005 - Demjanjuk Ordered Deported

A United States immigration judge ordered John Demjanjuk deported to his native Ukraine. Demjanjuk, 85, has been fighting for three decades to stay in the U.S. During the long legal battle, he was suspected for a time of being a notorious concentration camp card known as “Ivan the Terrible.” The Israeli Supreme Court found that he was not Ivan, but subsequent investigations found that he was a Nazi guard at various camps and a judge ruled in 2002 that he should be stripped of his citizenship.

March 11, 2009 - Arrest Warrant Issued in Germany

On March 11, 2009, German prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for 88-year-old native Ukrainian John Demjanjuk, who currently lives in Ohio, charging him with complicity in the murder of thousands of people at Sobibor, a Nazi concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during the Holocaust. If transferred to Munich, Demjanjuk's case could mark Germany's final major Nazi war-crimes trial, as the few former Nazis still alive are in their 80s or 90s and may be unfit to stand trial. Demjanjuk's family has argued that health issues make him too ill to survive travel to Germany and a lengthy prosecution there. Demjanjuk has not been successfully prosecuted until this point because the U.S. government does not have the jurisdiction to try him for his actions during World War II and he was freed on appeal in 1993 when evidence emerged that he had been confused with another Ukrainian guard at Treblinka.

March 24, 2009 - U.S. Takes Step to Deport Demjanjuk

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contacted the German government seeking travel documents needed to deport accused World War II Nazi guard John Demjanjuk. According to his son, Demjanjuk is not in federal custody and remains at his home in suburban Cleveland. Prosecutors in Munich, Germany say that upon extradition, he will be formally charged with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder. Though the German Justice Ministry could not confirm that U.S. authorities as requested the specific documents, its spokesman Ulrich Staudegale reiterated that the U.S. and German governments continued to work closely to secure Demjanjuk's extradition or deportation.

May 11, 2009 - Demjanjuk Deported to Germany

On Monday May 11, 2009, Nazi war crimes suspect John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States to Germany. Earlier in the day he was removed from his suburban Cleveland, Ohio home in the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. His plane departed from the Cleveland airport at 7:13 p.m.

The previous week, the U.S. Supreme Court and a German court both ruled to deny a stay of deportation for Demjanjuk. An arrest warrant charging Demjanjuk as an accessory to the murder of 29,000 civilians at Sobibor concentration camp in 1943 was issued by officials in Berlin. Demjanjuk now faces a war crimes trial in Germany.

May 12, 2011 - Conviction & Sentencing

On May 12, 2011, John Demjanjuk was found guilty of being an accessory to the murders of tens of thousands of Jews while he served as Nazi guard at Sobibor death camp in Poland during World War II. The German court charged Demjanjuk for his involvement in 27,900 murders and sentenced the 91-year-old to five years in prison. The court originally accused him of complicity in 29,000 murders, but the prosecutor's office later revised the number to exclude those who died during transport to Sobibor.

Demjanjuk's trial opened in November 2009, after he was stripped of United States citizenship and deported to Germany, and served as the final chapter in a 30-year international legal saga over Demjanjuk's role as a Nazi guard at Sobibor concentration camp.


Sources: JTA (February 21, 2002); AP (April 30, 2004); Haaretz (December 29, 2005); The Washington Post (March 12, 2009); Jerusalem Post (March 25, 2009); CNN

Back to Top