International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

(Germany) Demjanjuk victim calls for forgiveness

Demjanjuk victim calls for forgiveness
I came across this article and thought it was touching.  A 90 year-old Holocaust survivor, Jules Schelvis, asked the court in Munich to release John Demjanjuk, the alleged Nazi camp guard, after convicting him.  Schelvis says that although the court should find Demjanjuk guilty, they should not punish him; Schelvis is grateful that the trial is happening so that the story can be told.  It is important to Schelvis that his story be told, along with all the other victims that were deported to the death camp of Sobibor.  This trial is a type of memorialization for Schelvis, and serves as reconciliation, for both men.  Demjanjuk, who has already been in prison for 9 years, can now reconcile and admit to his wrong-doings, whereas Schelvis can have the memorialization via the trial for the atrocities committed against him, his wife, and all the other victims.  When we were talking about truth commissions in class, I just couldn’t understand how sometimes only the truth would suffice, especially after all the people they loved and cared for either disappeared or were brutally murdered, but after reading this article, I realized that the truth does set people free, and its important for both the body and soul to have reconciliation, whether it be within oneself or with perpetrators.

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One response to “(Germany) Demjanjuk victim calls for forgiveness

  1. marinagans April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Wow i think this is amazing! It is great that Jules wants this man releases from prison. After all this could be a different form of reconciliation. The perpetrator apologized and the victim forgave him. He wants the world to know what happened at this camp and for the perpetrator Demjanjuk who is already elderly to be found guilty but not punished. After all he has already spent 9 years in prison. I think this is a very noble demand from Jules and it fits in well with the topics for our course. The Holocaust has been greatly memorialized and widely heard of, it is more important for many victims to hear apologies and know that this is not a forgotten subject then to put elderly Nazi’s in prison. People change over time and i think that it is a possibility that Demjanjuk really did learn his lesson, it may have taken 60 years for the perpetrator to feel remorse and for the victim to find forgiveness but i think that this is exactly the kind of justice that the world needs to see.

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