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Monday, March 19, 2012

How Would CSI, Bones, Cold Case or Harry Bosch Have Handled the John Demjanjuk-Ivan the Terrible Case?

I'm a fan of those top police/detective TV shows, CSI, Bones, Cold Case and all the Law & Order series.  My favorite detective novels are those by Michael Connelly, especially the Harry Bosch ones.

Those of you who share my taste in television and detective novels know very well, that there isn't always a happy ending.  Sometimes the good guys don't win.  Sometimes the "system" protects the guilty at all costs.  Human justice isn't perfect.

That's the view of the John Demjanjuk trial, which charged him with being "Ivan the Terrible," for many Israelis and Jews.
‘I have no doubt Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible,’ says Dalia Dorner
Following death of John Demjanjuk, retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner defends her 1988 ruling convicting Demjanjuk for crimes of brutal Nazi guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” • Supreme Court overturned conviction in 1993 over reasonable doubt. (complete article)
By REUTERS/Sebastian Widmann/Pool
Demjanjuk spent the last decades of his life fighting legal battles, but eventually he just died of old age, unlike the six million Jews plus millions of others who were murdered by and as a result of the Nazi Regime.

For some that never-ending legal maze may be considered punishment, but in between trials and appeals, Demjanjuk was mostly free, not in jail.
John Demjanjuk, who died of natural causes at 91 on Saturday, was a Nazi war criminal. A German court sentenced him to five years in prison not too long ago, but he died in an old age home, awaiting the hearing on his appeal. Demjanjuk was transferred from this court to that court, did some hard time in an Israeli prison and in other countries as well, but managed to avoid a peremptory, final and undisputed punishment. The lingering wait for his appeal saved him... Ultimately, the quality of Demjanjuk’s life outside prison wasn’t good, but justice wasn’t done. Even when he was finally convicted of assisting in the murder of 28,000 Jews in Sobibor (not the crime attributed to Ivan the Terrible), he was not kept in custody, but rather allowed to go free until his appeal – which never transpired.
Demjanjuk’s legal battle resonated internationally, making its conclusion somewhat symbolic of the quest for justice for Nazi war criminals and their collaborators. The generation is dying out, and justice is being doled out in small portions. (complete article)
I'm not a Holocaust expert. I didn't grow up in a family or neighborhood that had "survivors."  My parents and their friends were mostly American born and raised.  Mine and my peers' grandparents had the European accents and had arrived arrived in the United States mostly before and after World War One, long before Hitler and his Nazis terrorized European Jewry.

My knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust was from the media and Hebrew School when we learned of Anne Frank's Diary and during the Eichmann Trial.  The Eichmann Trial did bring a sort of "closure" to many victims, since Adolf Eichmann was found guilty and executed.  The John Demjanjuk trials and question were the opposite.  It was like a very bad case of lupus, which can't be easily diagnosed,  properly cured or fully controlled.  It just plagues the sufferers all their lives.

Will Ivan The Terrible's identity as John Demjanjuk ever be proven to satisfy all? I think that people will be debating the issue forever....


Anonymous said...

Powerful Beth,

Batya said...

Bobby, thanks...