Martin Haas, Nebenkläger, USA.
Plädoyer, Landgericht München, March 2011
Your Honors, the Judges of the Landgericht München II.
I stand here, age 74, as a Nebenkläger who lost three immediate family members, my 36-year old mother, Margaretha Haas; my 10-year old sister, Elizabeth Haas; and my 9-year old brother, Izaak Haas, who were all summarily gassed to death in Sobibor on April 20th 1943– as well as losing another ten close relatives in Sobibor and 120 more distantly related family members murdered in Sobibor and Auschwitz. At the time, I was 5 years old.
I stand before this esteemed Court to ask for and obtain justice in the case of the defendant, Ivan Demjanjuk.
The evidence presented to date in this courtroom has shown that the defendant, Ivan Demjanjuk, was active as a trained accessory to murder in Sobibor during the time my family was murdered there in a beastly fashion. ANYONE who belonged to the armed guards at Sobibor was de facto complicit in that heinous MURDERING MACHINE. This proves that the defendant was at least complicit in the murder of my Mother z’l and my two siblings z’l in Sobibor.
Mr Demjanjuk! Your postwar declarations to refugee organizations, to USA authorities, to the USA Department of Justice and to the Israeli courts on your whereabouts during and after WWII draw a picture of lies, evasion and equivocation as to your activities during the time my family was murdered while you evidently were an armed guard in Sobibor. It is plain that the many lines of evidence for your affiliation as MURDER ACCOMPLICE with the Trawniki and the SS in Sobibor during the time my Family was murdered there cannot all be a conspiracy of forgeries. Your claim that the many pieces of evidence for your presence and activities in Sobibor are forgeries would suggest the existence of an unholy alliance between the Soviets, the Americans, the Germans and the SS in your case, a wholly unacceptable assumption.
THEREFORE, Mr. Ivan Demjanjuk, rather than accusing others of FALSIFICATION of EVIDENCE about your role in the thousands of despicable murders we have witnessed, you yourself are trying to FALSIFY HISTORY by distortion, forgery and repudiation, AND ABOVE ALL cowardice. You were an accomplice and willing henchman of the SS.
We, the Nebenkläger and victims in this trial, expected that for the sake of historical truth and to free yourself from the burden you have carried your entire life you would testify in this trial and tell the Court, the Nebenkläger and the world of your involvement in Extermination Lager SOBIBOR, and of your personal participation in the despicable atrocities perpetrated against my family and against thousands of innocent people.
Mr Demjanjuk! We expected you to apologize to the many dead victims and their next of kin present in this courtroom, and say that you are truly sorry for having volunteered and willingly participated in this murderous operation, whether out of coercion or out of conviction.
Mr Demjanjuk! We hoped that you would have risen in heroic stature, after reaching 90 years of age, and bear witness, even find a few words to suggest measures that need be taken so that inhuman crimes of this sort will never be contemplated again nor repeated.
But rather, Mr. Demjanjuk! You chose to remain silent throughout the Trial, not evidencing a shred of remorse. You are an ignoble man devoid of any appearance of value. Your complete silence during this trial has shown you to be as reprehensible as when you volunteered in 1942 to join the Trawniki, and when you continued to work in Sobibor despite opportunities to escape from the Sobibor hell.
It goes without saying that you had the right to remain silent during these proceedings. However, your silence, combined with the untenable complaints towards Counsel, the Court and even the co-plaintiffs, as well as your whining about what the Germans have brought on you, all these attest to you remaining a despicable person who, since 1942, executed mass murders of the Jews together with other Trawniki. Indeed, in Sobibor you were, and today you remain, an unrepentant villain who had ample opportunities to escape from the Sobibor hell.
Mr. Demjanjuk! You cannot look us, the Nebenkläger-victims who are present in this courtroom in the eye and tell those present in this Court what you saw. The symbolic baseball cap and sunglasses that you have worn in this courtroom can no longer shield you from the crimes to which you bore witness, and with which you chose not to face this Court.
In my heart, I believe that you, Mr Ivan Demjanjuk were, and remain today a scoundrel, a racist, and a criminal who joined the Nazi murder machine as a shameful accessory to other murderers at Sobibor.
As one victim of your actions, I have lived my ENTIRE life without my parents and my siblings. You, Mr Demjanjuk played a criminal part in the machine that decimated my family. Together with other murderers, you begrudged my whole family, children, women, parents and grandparents, their lives in the Netherlands. Your behavior proves that, in your eyes, the members of my family were not worthy of living, were dispensable.
Mr. Demjanjuk, you have lied about your complicity for the last 67 years, so that you and your family WILL be able to live quietly, arrogantly and with unfathomable cowardice.
Mr Demjanjuk, J’accuse you of distortion, evasion and equivocation and, above all, of being an unrepentant coward and an accomplice, a willing executioner with the SS.
Therefore, I call upon this Court to hand the defendant, Ivan Demjanjuk, the maximum sentence allowable under the law.