Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Heart-Wrenching From All Different Aspects
CLEVELAND - The return of alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk to Germany for trial on war crimes was delayed again Tuesday by a federal court, shortly after six immigration officers removed the retired autoworker from his suburban Cleveland home in a wheelchair.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay until it could further consider Demjanjuk's motion to reopen the U.S. case that ordered him deported, in which he says painful medical ailments would make travel to Germany torturous.
An arrest warrant in Germany claims Demjanjuk was an accessory to some 29,000 deaths during World War II at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Once in Germany, he could be formally charged in court.
Citing the need to act because of the possibility of Demjanjuk's imminent deportation, the court issued the stay without addressing the U.S. government's argument that the court had no jurisdiction to rule on Demjanjuk's appeal.
Former son-in-law and family spokesman Ed Nishnic said the family was relieved the stay was granted.
"We're delighted. We're prepared to make our arguments with the 6th Circuit, and it's just a shame that Mr. Demjanjuk had to go through the hell that he went through once again this morning," he said as he walked into a federal building in Cleveland where Demjanjuk was being held.
It was unclear whether Demjanjuk would be returned to his home in Seven Hills.
As Demjanjuk's wheelchair was loaded into a van at their home, his wife, Vera, sobbed and held her hands to her mouth. As the van moved down the street, Vera turned and waved, sobbing in the arms of a granddaughter.
Several family members, including a 10-year-old grandson, were in the home when the officers removed Demjanjuk.
Nishnic said Demjanjuk, a native of Ukraine, told his family, "I love you," in Ukrainian and was aware that the officers were there to take him to Germany.
Nishnic said his former father-in-law moaned in pain as he was placed in the wheelchair.
"It was horrendous. He was in such pain. I wouldn't want to see anyone go through something like that," said granddaughter Olivia Nishnic, 20.
Posted by Nikki at 4/14/2009 04:31:00 PM