Cleveland, OH – The defense for a retired auto worker convicted in Germany of Nazi war crimes told a judge Tuesday that hundreds of pages of newly released documents cast doubt on the U.S. effort to revoke his American citizenship.
Attorneys for John Demjanjuk, 91, made the appeal in renewing their request to U.S. District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster to hold a hearing on whether Demjanjuk should regain his U.S. citizenship.
Last month, prosecutors said the retired autoworker was trying to cast himself as a victim following his conviction in Germany on more than 28,000 counts of accessory to murder.
His attorneys charge that the government failed to disclose important evidence, including a 1985 secret FBI report uncovered by The Associated Press. It indicates the FBI believed a Nazi ID card purportedly showing that Demjanjuk served as a death camp guard was a Soviet-made fake.
“Of course these documents are of great importance to the case,” the defense said. “They cast doubt on the entire case. And they are created by the largest, most powerful law enforcement and investigative agency in the country.”
Federal prosecutors won’t comment on the latest defense filing, according to Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.
Demjanjuk was convicted by a German court that found he had served as a guard at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
Demjanjuk denies serving as a guard at any camp and is free pending his appeal. He’s been in poor health for years and has been in and out of a hospital since his conviction.
He currently cannot leave Germany because he has no passport, but he could get a U.S. passport if the denaturalization ruling was overturned.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was a Soviet Red Army soldier captured by the Germans in 1942. The Munich court found he agreed to serve the Nazis as a guard at Sobibor.
The government’s response to the original defense citizenship filing included an Oct. 12 affidavit from retired FBI agent Thomas Martin. He said the March 4, 1985 report written by him was based on speculation about a Soviet forgery, not any investigation.