A 93-year-old man who acknowledges he served with the SS in Auschwitz but claims he was only a cook is under investigation by German authorities as a possible accessory to murder.
CLEVELAND - The estate of a recently deceased Ohio autoworker convicted of Nazi war crimes wants an appeals court to help restore his U.S. citizenship.
John Demjanjuk, of suburban Cleveland, died March 17 in Germany at age 91. In a filing late Monday night, his estate asked the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to take up the case.
A three-judge panel of the court rejected the citizenship bid in June, upholding a judge's ruling last year in Cleveland.
The defense says the American government withheld potentially helpful material. "Fraud is fraud. It does not die" with the death of parties involved, the defense said in its latest filing.
The government argued that the earlier defense filings contained no new information in the matter.
There was no immediate response from the government to the latest appeal. A message was left for the U.S. attorney's office in Cleveland.
The defense said the full court must take up the matter to decide important issues, including whether a "well-supported" claim of fraud should be resolved without a hearing.
The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk lived for decades in Seven Hills before he was convicted by a Munich court on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. Demjanjuk, who maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else, died while his conviction was under appeal
The defense team alleged that Judge Daniel Aaron Polster violated basic fairness by ruling against Demjanjuk's citizenship appeal without holding a hearing on a 1985 secret FBI report uncovered by The Associated Press.
The government responded to the document with an affidavit last year from retired FBI agent Thomas Martin, who said the report he wrote was based on speculation and not on any investigation.
Martin said he based his speculation partly on his understanding that the Soviet secret police had a longstanding program to target dissidents living overseas, "for the purpose of intimidation, threat or actual assassination."
Martin said in the affidavit that he reached no conclusions about the ID card's authenticity.
Demjanjuk previously was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Israel as the notoriously brutal guard "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka extermination camp. The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction after Israel received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was that Nazi guard.
But the supreme court judges also said that they still believed Demjanjuk had served the Nazis, probably at the Trawniki SS training camp and Sobibor.