Stretcher-Bound Demjanjuk Begins Trial

Defense accuses court of 'double-standard' in prosecution
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2009 1:38 PM CST
Stretcher-Bound Demjanjuk Begins Trial
John Demjanjuk began trial in Munich today in a wheelchair, and finished on a stretcher.   (AP Photo)

Accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk started his trial for complicity in 27,900 Holocaust murders in Munich today first in a wheelchair, and then on a stretcher. The Red Army POW/Ohio autoworker even forced a halt to proceedings when he flailed and gasped for breath in the courtroom. “It’s a pathetic attempt to appear more crippled than he is,” a Nazi-hunter tells the Telegraph. “He belongs in Hollywood.”

Demjanjuk’s lawyer did not harp on his client’s health problems, but rather on the “double standards” being applied. Concentration camp guards “press-ganged” into service “were just like Jews forced to work in the gas chambers,” he says. And the SS guards who oversaw Demjanjuk went free in earlier trials, he said, according to Bloomberg. “How can he have aided in a crime to which other people were acquitted?” “Disgusting,” replied a lawyer for the families of the victim. The guards, press-ganged or not, “could leave the camps when they wanted.” (More John Demjanjuk trial stories.)

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