MUNICH — John Demjanjuk left prison in an unmarked vehicle yesterday for a nursing home after a judge ordered him released pending an appeal of his conviction for serving as a guard at a Nazi death camp.
Michael Stumf, director of the Stadelheim prison, said authorities had difficulty finding a home that would take in the 91-year-old on such short notice. Stumf refused to give any details about where Demjanjuk was headed, other than to say it was in Greater Munich.
Demjanjuk has been held in Stadelheim since he was deported to Germany two years ago to stand trial on charges of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at the Nazi’s Sobibor death camp.
He was found guilty on Thursday and sentenced to five years in prison. Defense attorney Ulrich Busch filed an appeal immediately after his client was convicted.
Demjanjuk was a Soviet Red Army soldier captured by the Germans in 1942. He is accused of then agreeing to serve as a guard, but Demjanjuk has always maintained he was a victim of the Nazis.
He emigrated to the United States after the war. He became a US citizen, but his citizenship was revoked in 1981 because the Justice Department alleged he was the notoriously brutal Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.’’
He was extradited to Israel to stand trial, convicted, and sentenced to death but freed when a court there overturned the ruling, saying the evidence showed he was the victim of mistaken identity. He returned to the United States and regained his citizenship briefly, then was deported again after German prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009.