Although I normally could not care less about internal affairs of other countries, the news that John Demjanjuk was convicted in Germany of thousands of counts of acting as an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp made me take notice.
As we know, John Demjanjuk was deported from the U.S. two years ago for his involvement in WWII atrocities while serving as a guard at Sobibor. Neither the court in the U.S. or the one in Germany conclusively found Demjanjuk to be involved in anything other than being a guard: no testimony of survivors that attested to any fact like him personally harming any of the prisoner. This is a matter of fact - the only conjecture is that he actively participated in atrocities. As the AP story also reiterates, "There was no evidence that Demjanjuk committed a specific crime. The prosecution was based on the theory that if Demjanjuk was at the camp, he was a participant in the killing".
I am not an anti-Jew person. In fact, my sentiments on this blog are very clearly pro-Israel and I will defend Jewish rights as long as I live. However, I find it to be a great injustice to convict a 91 year old frail man and sentencing him to 5 years prison (a death sentence at that age) based solely on his misfortune to be assigned to a concentration camp.
There is a reason why we do not prosecute common soldiers (unless we can prove that they did something atrocious). It is the commanding officers that order such atrocities. Soldiers follow orders and have no choice or say in the matter. Demjanjuk was never shown to be anything other than a guard and no one claimed successfully that he did anything wrong like torturing or personally killing prisoners. That is exactly why the court decisions against Demjanjuk in the U.S. as well as Germany are obviously motivated by political correctness and should be condemned.