An immigration appeals board ruled on Friday that retired autoworker John Demjanjuk can be deported to Germany to face charges that he served as a Nazi death camp guard during World War II.
Demjanjuk’s son, John Demjanjuk, Jr, said the family would appeal to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The court closed on Friday without receiving a filing of appeal.
The board’s denial of an emergency stay of deportation makes it more likely Demjanjuk will soon be sent to face an arrest warrant claiming he was an accessory to some 29,000 deaths at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943. Once in Germany, he could be formally charged in court.
A German lawyer on Thursday appealed Demjanjuk’s pending arrest and requested that Munich prosecutors provide a copy of the arrest warrant and other documents so he can substantiate the details of the appeal. No action was expected before Tuesday.
Demjanjuk, a native Ukrainian, has denied involvement in any deaths, saying that he was a Russian soldier who was a prisoner of war, held by the Germans. He came to the US after World War II as a refugee. The 89-year-old Demjanjuk remained at his home near Cleveland on Friday afternoon. He had filed the US motion to the immigration board in Falls Church, Virginia, saying that he was in poor health and that being forced to travel to Germany would amount to torture.
He also asked the board to reopen the US case that ordered him deported. The board had not yet ruled on that request.
The US Department of Justice opposed his motions.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Pat Reilly would say only that officials would “remove him when the time is appropriate,” but she referred all other questions to the Department of Justice.
Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s special investigations unit, had no comment. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said any response would come in court filings.
A phone message left with Demjanjuk’s US attorney, John Broadley, was not immediately returned.
Demjanjuk Jr arrived at his parents’ house in Seven Hills, Ohio, late on Friday morning, parked and entered without acknowledging members of the media who had gathered outside. After a short stay, he came out to his car and left, again without comment.
Demjanjuk has said he suffers severe spinal, hip and leg pain and has a bone marrow disorder, kidney disease, anemia, kidney stones, arthritis, gout and spinal deterioration.
In the German appeal, Busch said Demjanjuk was not fit for arrest, travel or trial because of post-traumatic stress disorder and serious illnesses, and that a trial could shorten his life because he has a kidney tumor that requires immediate chemotherapy.
He said Demjanjuk’s pain was so severe that it would impair his alertness and ability to concentrate on his defense. A video of a doctor sent by US immigration authorities to examine Demjanjuk at his home shows the elderly man crying out in pain, Busch noted. The video showed Demjanjuk getting in and out of bed.
Demjanjuk had been told to expect deportation last Sunday, but it was blocked by an immigration judge’s stay that expired on Wednesday.
He first gained US citizenship in 1958. It was revoked in 1981 based on Justice Department allegations that he had served as the notorious Nazi guard “Ivan the Terrible” in Poland at the Treblinka death camp.