MUNICH, Germany, April 13 (UPI) -- Ivan Demjanjuk, on trial in Germany for serving as a World War II concentration camp guard, said Tuesday he is an "innocent victim" pursued by Jewish groups.
A lawyer read a statement by the 90-year-old retired autoworker to a court in Munich, the World Jewish Congress reported. Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian who emigrated to the United States, specifically blamed the Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
"It is an injustice that Germany tries to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal to try to deviate from its own war crimes," the statement said. "This trial is torture for me."
Demjanjuk has been fighting charges of war crimes for decades. In 1986, he was extradited to Israel where he was convicted and sentenced to death for being "Ivan the Terrible," a notorious guard at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.
After the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1993, Demjanjuk was allowed to return to his home near Cleveland and his U.S. citizenship was restored. But new charges were brought that he had been a guard at the Sobibor camp in Poland, he lost his citizenship in 2002 and was extradited to Germany last year.