Ivan The Terrible At Treblinka

Welcome to the Modern Typewriter, a daily blog to discuss topics that can’t be answered easily, or are just some fun topics! Today is March 11th, 2009, I’m Royce, and I’m here to talk about a recent news article about a German man charged for the crimes of being a Nazi Death Camp Guard.

Mr. John Demjanjuk, aged 88, is assumed to be responsible for a least the deaths of 29,000 Jews in the death camp of Treblinka during the Holocaust. Treblinka death camp was located in Nazi-occupied Poland during the years 1942-1942.

Demjanjuk denies that he was a Nazi guard. He says he was merely a prisoner of war of the Nazis, rather than a guard. But the documents he wrote the few years after the Holocaust proved that he was indeed a guard.

Investigators found lists of names of people who he personally led to the gas chambers at Treblinka. He was nicknamed, “Ivan the Terrible.”

Ivan Demjanjuk was born in the Ukraine.

In the 1980’s, he was sentenced to death in Israel, but the Supreme Court spared him, finding evidence suggesting that he was not the guard at Treblinka death camp.

In the year 2002, he was stripped of his citizenship by a US Immigration Judge, who had found enough evidence to prove that he was a Nazi guard.

Currently, authorities are deciding where to send him, seeing how they do not wish to have him here in the United States.

“I personally think he should be put to death. He is responsible for the deaths of almost 30,000 innocent people. Does he have the right to live? I believe not. He helped commit a crime against humanity. He personally led 29,000 Jews to the gas chambers at Treblinka. I think the only place he belongs is on death row.” says Melanie, a writer at the Modern Typewriter.

“Until they are exactly sure whether or not this man is responsible for these deaths, I think they should just hold him in a jail until further evidence is found. Because it is only fair that you provide enough evidence to totally prove that he committed these crimes. Otherwise, I believe it is unfair to just send him out of the country if you don’t have enough evidenciary support for your point.” says Cody, another writer.

So what do you think? Should he be jailed? Let go? Leave us a comment to express your opinion!

Remember, I’m Royce, and this is the Modern Typewriter, OUT!

News Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7937408.stm

Picture Taken From: http://faculty.berea.edu/gowlers/remembering/treblinka/Rail_Memorial.jpg



  1. Green Eggs and Sam · · Reply

    I agree Royce. I think that his previous actions should have a punishment, right? I mean he took the lives of all those people and it is not fair whatsoever. If they were to put him in jail he would learn his lesson. I also noticed that he knows he should be punished, because at first he denied being a guard. He seems to know what he did was wrong but has not been punished.

  2. I think John Demjanjuk may be the notorious “Ivan, the Terrible” from the Treblinka death camp. The reason I think so is because I saw the movie “Shoah” which featured a former SS guard who served at Treblinka and he said the Ukranians who worked the gas chambers there were just terrible. From this, I get that the Ukranians who worked at Treblinka took sadism to a whole new level. I don’t mean to get graphic but I think the SS guard said the Ukranians used to beat the people into the gas chamber with whips.
    So this John Demjanjuk is Ukranian and I think it has been established that he was at Treblinka. You draw your own conclusion. Even if he’s not Ivan, the Terrible, there’s still a pretty good chance he’s guilty of war crimes.

  3. B.J. HAROLD · · Reply

    This demon, Ivan the Terrible should be put in jail till the end of his life. He should realise what suffering and pain is. He should not forget the suffering, pain and death of thousands of jews. He never thought that God would bring him to the justice stands. If he was innocent, he can prove that very easily by producing his School / College / Birth Certificates. He School Mates would come out in support of him. It is very easy if we are in his shoes.

    Now the only alternative left is to punish him by putting him behind bars. he should remember that he had no concern for aged, sick and the dying jews. It is reported that he was beating them up like a Satan, with rifle butt and kicking them without any concern for the aged. Now why does he want sympathy for his own age. The Nazi bastard should be hanged and shot in public so that it would be a deterrent to other Nazis who are hiding in Latrines and Toilets throughout the world under assumed names.

  4. Clare · · Reply

    In 1986, Demjajuk was sent to Israel, tried, convicted and sentenced to death for being ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ a notoriously cruel guard who ran the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp, also in Poland.

    BUT evidence from Soviet files indicated that another man, Ivan Marchenko, was Ivan the Terrible. Mr Demjanjuk’s conviction was overturned in 1993, and he returned to the US.

    He is set to stay in a Munich jail as the authorities there have ruled he is fit enough to stay there pending trial. There should always be a trial. We must show we are better human beings than those who believe in torture.

  5. paolosilv · · Reply

    He may have just been a ‘perimeter guard’ walking around to make sure no one escaped. But that still makes him complicit in their deaths. No evidence supports him running the gas chambers, but does it matter? He was there.

  6. Keith Buchholz · · Reply

    End the circle of hate. What is the point? Do we hunt other people connected with genocide? No. Some of these people we put on trial are innocent but names such as “Nazi ” and “holocaust” stir so much passion in people that we forget who we are and we begin to thirst for blood. We know 2 facts about this case.

    1.Demjajuk is NOT Ivan the terrible

    2. He never actually gassed someone he worked as a guard

    Why people are so thirsty for the blood of a 90 year old prison guard is beyond me. Yes he did keep prisoners from escaping . Yes probably knew what was happening. Could he have stopped it? No. Could he have fed his family? Yes. If people are going to convict someone, go for the leaders they are the ones responsible. There are many modern cases of genocide that go unnoticed and unreported. THESE are the people you should convict. The Nazis did their thing. Yes it was bad but should we still be looking for obscure Germans to prosecute? Do we really need to find Hitlers 80 year-old 3rd cousin twice removed and put him in jail for a year or two before he dies? I see all this Nazi hunting as a strategy for “getting even” rather then “dealing justice”. If you really want to make an example you should target MODERN genocidists. NOT the few remainders of a war that happened 70 years ago. These people only have a few years left and when the blindfold of Nazi propaganda was lifted from their eyes they realized the horrors of what they had done. There are many people who think its OK to wipe out a race. Even in these modern times. These are people who feel no remorse for their actions. Do you not hunt them because they are not smelly 85 year olds who can barely walk? Do you fear them because they have guns? the message you send is that your weak you are not showing that you are hard on the masterminds of torture and genocide. You show that you pick on the weak. The holocaust was bad, but its over now. Stop it from ever happening again.

  7. Ivan Demjanjuk is accused of being a guard at Sobibor and Majdenak now.

  8. paolosilv · · Reply

    Let me clarify : Demjanjuk is NOT being accused of being a guard at Treblinka, but at Sobibor, Majdanek, Okzow (labor camp), and Flossenburg. What he is being charged with is accessory to murder at Sobibor , a death camp. Let’s get facts straight.

  9. In reply to Keiths answer there are many Nazi war criminals who are still hunted, it is just that this individual has now been extradited after a 25 year extradition campaign that the trial is beginning now.

    YES it is important to continue to persecute these people and you are idiotic to imply that you can draw paralells between convicting SS death camp guards and someone who is vaguely related to Hitler.

    This is not a case of ‘getting even’, it is a case of seeing that justice is done. Regardless of this mans age or his physical state, he still committed a crime, there is no statute of limitations on genocide.

    Modern genocide does occur, yes. However, the holocaust IS still modern genocide, it ended 64 years ago and should remain fresh in everyones minds so that it does not happen again. Cases like this are important as they work towards ensuring that the modern world is aware that genocide remains unforgiven.

    I would like to know how YOU know that he worked only as a guard at Treblinka? However as someone rightly pointed out we are discussing Sobibor and his role there. Perimeter guard or not, he may have been directly complicit in the killings or abuse, Treblinka in the early days lacked in organisation and the SS guards would be employed to do duties outside their usual ‘job description’. As Paolosilv mentioned, perimeter guard or not, he took a part in the killing of jews, he was an accessory to murder.

    As I said, it is important that we persecute modern genocidists such as Demjanjuk as the Holocaust is still a modern issue. They must be made an example of, this isn’t a case of something simply being ‘bad’ it was horrific so therefore it is necessary to seek out every stinking old man (or woman) that took part, even if they are on their death beds, because justice needs to be done.

    1. In response to Laura’s comment…
      Did you even do research? Demjanjuk was not found to be Ivan the Terrible and was found not to be present at Treblinka… And if you were gonna quote Paolosilv you should make sure what he says doesn’t contradict things which you’ve already stated as fact. you quoted his as saying he is an “accessory to murder”.

      First of all Paolosilv said he was being “charged” with being an accessory to murder, Not that he “was” an accessory to murderer. Two, Being charged with a crime is not the same as having done it. from your stand point hes already guilty. learn the lessons of the witch hunts, innocent until proven guilty. in addition you jumping to the conclusion that hes automatically guilty confirms my point about how when people hear the term holocaust they get blood thirsty and ignore facts. Finally and worst of all you didn’t verify the facts of this article. Paolosilv clearly state and i quote “Demjanjuk is NOT being accused of being a guard at Treblinka, but at Sobibor, Majdanek, Okzow (labor camp), and Flossenburg” a fact which you so blatantly ignored.

      He actually started out as a German prisoner of war and later defected to the Vlasov Army. the Vlasov army was a group of prisoners of war who turned against Soviet Russia because they did not believe in Stalins’ socialist vision. But, that’s beside the fact.The crimes he is being charged with are 27,900 counts of accessory to murder. 1 charge for each person to die at Sobibor during the time he acted as a guard. These charges are being leveled at him because he worked as a guard nothing more or nothing less. If you can charge a guard with these crimes then you should also charge the Kapos (privileged prisoners who acted as foremen for the Nazis) with the same crimes. These Kapos often showed the same cruelty towards prisoners as the Nazis themselves and a fair percentage were Jewish. You should charge the Jewish leaders who discouraged rebellion because Nazis bribed them. the fact is these people who are considered “victims” often made conditions for others worse for their own benefit and actively aided the Nazis. how are these people and different then Demjanjuk? why should he me charged and they should not? They all found themselves prisoners of the Nazis and tried their best to survive. Ironically its the fact that a lot of these people are Jewish that keeps them from being prosecuted.

      What i was trying to say in my earlier post is that we need to be harder on modern Genocidists. Are you aware that since WWII there have been at least 23 separate causes of genocide/politicide? coming to at least 8.1milloin people dead. about 4/5 the amount of people killed in the holocaust. or that international law has only intervened 3 times? The fact is whe should be after those guys who are killing people “now”

  10. Thanks for clarifying the matter. Since I can’t read German and the German government hasn’t posted the 140 page list of charges, I can only post what I have found out on accurate sites.

    I disagree , however, about the ‘kapos.’ Some of these Kapos were common criminals of all nations. The Jews who worked in the camps disposing of bodies, however, were called, “Sonderkommandos”. I can’t translate that, but they had a different task than a “Kapo”, which meant the Chief of a block within the camp. More can be learned by reading Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Primo Levi’s If this is a man, or Survival at Auschwitz.

    Thank you.

  11. Your welcome Paolosilv! In regard to the Kapos. I am aware that the majority were common criminals, but there are documented cases of Jewish Kapos. And i was trying to prove a point to Laura. that if they were to prosecute a guard they should also prosecute these people.

  12. Regarding the Demjanjuk case, things are more complex. The case had and has severe political implications: 1rst, the Ucranians feel that this is a lie orchestaded by the KGB to make the world think that all the Ucranians cooperated with the Nazis during WWII, remember that at WWII time Ucrania was occupied by the Russians, and a lot of people saw the Germans as friends fighting against communism. Ucranian organizations in USA and Canada have paid millions in Demjanjuk defense. 2nd, the hard evidence is gray: a SS ID with a photo of a man 60 years younger than Demjanjuk is now, the positive identification made by 7 or 8 survivors 40 or 50 years later. Other few survivors have not identified positively this man, and not all the experts agree that the ID is real or was forged by the KGB. 3rd, a deep Soviet interest in make the world think that USA gave refuge to war criminals and that all the Ucranians which emigrated to America after WWII were Nazi collaborators. Remember that it was the soviet government who in theory found and gave the ID to the Americans.

    It is a great chalenge for justice not to satisfy the wide popular revenge feeling against the crimes, but to punish guilty people. I recomend you a good article by Greeta Sereny in a book The German Trauma. My personal feeling is that if this person is not Ivan he was a close similar working in a death camp, no wonder how old he is he deserves to be punished by the civilized world.

  13. Thank you, but the ID and the eyewitnesses are not the only evidence. There was also German held evidence against him, in particular, his name rank and serial number on a list of “Watchmen” at Sobibor and Majdanek camps.

    In addition, recently the US expelled or deported another man, also accused of people a Nazi guard at Sachsenhausen camp. His name is Greiser.

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