Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 16:09 UK

John Demjanjuk tells court he is a victim of Hitler

Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk arrives in the courtroom in Munich on March 23, 2010
Mr Demjanjuk's family say he is unlikely to survive the trial

John Demjanjuk, accused of helping to murder nearly 28,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp, has told a German court he is "one of Hitler's victims".

Mr Demjanjuk was "forcibly deported to Germany" and used as "slave labour" he said in a statement read out in court.

The family of the Ukrainian-born former US carworker says he is in poor health and is unlikely to survive the trial.

Mr Demjanjuk, who is 89, denies being a camp guard at Sobibor, in Nazi-occupied Poland.


"I find it an unbearable injustice that Germany is trying to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal with this trial," Mr Demjanjuk said in a statement read out by his lawyer to the court in the southern city of Munich.

"I am grateful to my medical staff who have helped to reduce the worst pain and allowed me to get through this trial which I feel is torture."

The statement went on: "Germany is to blame for the fact that I have lost my whole reason for living, my family, my happiness and any future or hope."

The statement is his first since the trial began in November 2009.

Mr Demjanjuk lay motionless on a stretcher while the statement was read out.

Doctors say he is fit to stand trial but have asked for limited hearings.

This is the second time John Demjanjuk has appeared in court.

Two decades ago, he was sentenced to death in Israel, convicted of being Ivan the Terrible, a notoriously sadistic guard at the Treblinka death camp.

But that ruling was overturned after new evidence showed that another Ukrainian was probably responsible.

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