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What happened to John Demjanjuk and how did he die?

John Demjanjuk on trial
John Demjanjuk on trial. Pic credit: Associated Press/YouTube

A new Netflix documentary series called The Devil Next Door hit the streaming service today. The series explores the Holocaust and when the Office of Special Investigations suspected a Nazi was masquerading as an innocent man.

One of the last Nuremberg Trials was also one of the most divisive. The Treblinka guard nicknamed Ivan the Terrible, for all of the atrocities he committed during the Holocaust, has become the center of a lot of speculation over the past several years. Many people believe an innocent man was convicted.

But who is the man ultimately considered to be Ivan the Terrible? It is John Demjanjuk.

What happened to John Demjanjuk? How did he die? Here is everything to know about what happened.

What happened to John Demjanjuk?

John Demjanjuk was a man believed to be a Nazi war criminal who was hiding in plain sight and working at a car dealership, according to The Guardian. When his identity was discovered, he was quickly convicted and stripped of the right to be an American citizen.

After certain legal roadblocks were hit, he was granted new American citizenship. However, upon more research, new charges would be filed, and he would once again lose the rights held by all American citizens. That time, he would never get them back.

In 2009, German officials wanted justice as well and asked the American government to give them a chance to hold Demjanjuk accountable. Even though Demjanjuk’s legal representation would argue that he was not healthy enough to make the trip to Germany, authorities would ultimately decide that this was a lie, and force him to go to court anyway.

Brittanica goes on to explain that he was eventually convicted by a German court, but certain minor health issues originally kept him from being deported. After being given a little bit of time to heal, he eventually made the trip to Germany.

After being found guilty, he was sentenced to five years in prison. He filed appeals within the German legal system and was granted permission to await their review in a German nursing home. He would die in that nursing home without his appeals being heard.

How did John Demjanjuk die?

According to The Washington Post, John Demjanjuk died from an unknown sickness in his blood and bone marrow. He was 91 years old. Many in his local town still considered him to be an innocent man, and even raised support for his legal representation.

Whether he was Ivan the Terrible or the sweet man so many of his neighbors believed him to be, Demjanjuk spent his final years fighting in court and ultimately dying without his name being cleared.

The Devil Next Door is now streaming on Netflix.


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