Wednesday May 19 1:01 PM
U.S. In New Bid To Revoke
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
convicted and then cleared of being the
notorious Nazi war criminal "Ivan the
Terrible," faces a new lawsuit to strip
him of his U.S. citizenship, the Justice
Department announced Wednesday.
The Justice Department, which has
been severely rebuked for how it initially
handled Demjanjuk's case, said it would
try again to take away the citizenship of
the retired Cleveland autoworker, who is
In the latest development in a more
than 20-year legal battle, the lawsuit
filed in federal court in Cleveland
accused Demjanjuk of being a guard at the
Sobibor extermination camp and at
concentration camps in Poland and
It also alleged that he was a
member of the SS-run Trawniki unit that
participated in the Nazi campaign to
annihilate Jews in Europe during the
Second World War.
Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian immigrant,
has denied having been a guard at any
death camp and has insisted he has been a
victim of mistaken identity.
Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel
in 1986, where he was convicted of crimes
against humanity and sentenced to death.
But the Israeli Supreme Court cleared him
in 1993 of being the gas chamber operator
known as ``Ivan the Terrible'' at the
Treblinka death camp in Poland, and he
returned to the United States.
The Justice Department has suffered
a number of embarrassing setbacks in the
Demjanjuk case over the years.
In 1993, a U.S. appeals court ruled
the department's Nazi-hunting lawyers in
the late 1970s and early 1980s
deliberately withheld evidence undermining
their claim that Demjanjuk was
A federal judge in Cleveland last
year reinstated Demjanjuk's U.S.
citizenship, but said the Justice
Department could file a new complaint if
it believed the evidence against him
The 15-page lawsuit alleged that
Demjanjuk was an armed guard at the
Sobibor death camp in Poland, where more
than 200,000 Jewish civilians were killed
in the gas chambers.
It alleged that Demjanjuk began
working for the Nazis in 1942 at the
Trawniki training camp in Nazi-occupied
Poland that prepared East European
recruits to assist the Germans in carrying
out the Nazi's genocidal race
The lawsuit accused Demjanjuk and
others from Trawniki of participating in
"Operation Reinhard," a program to
exterminate Jews in Poland.
The lawsuit alleged Demjanjuk
served as an armed guard at the Majdanek
death camp in Lublin, Poland, where more
than 200,000 Jews were killed, and at the
Flossenburg concentration camp in
southeastern Germany, near the Czech
border. About 30,000 prisoners died there
during the war.
It alleged Demjanjuk lied about his
wartime activities, claiming he spent the
war working on a farm in Poland and as a
laborer in Germany, when he obtained a
visa to enter the United States in 1952.
He became a citizen six years
If the Justice Department succeeds
in getting Demjanjuk's citizenship
revoked, a process that could drag on for
years, then it could move to bring
separate deportation proceedings against