Ohio autoworker accused of Nazi atrocities goes to trial

December 01, 2009

MUNICH - John Demjanjuk sat in a wheelchair wrapped in a light blue blanket, his eyes closed and his face pale as his trial opened Monday on charges he helped kill 27,900 Jews as a Nazi death camp guard. Lawyers for the retired Ohio autoworker portrayed him as a victim - of the Nazis and misguided German justice. But three German doctors testified the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was fit to stand trial. Wearing a blue baseball cap, Demjanjuk, 89, was wheeled in to the packed Munich state court and did not answer when presiding judge Ralph Alt asked if he could answer basic questions about himself. A German doctor who examined Demjanjuk two hours before the trial began said that despite suffering from a bone marrow disease and other ailments he was able to face trial. Demjanjuk was deported in May from the United States and has been in custody in Munich since then.

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