(JTA) — Convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk will be buried near his home in suburban Cleveland.
A German funeral home reportedly said the body of Demjanjuk, who died on March 17, will travel to Cleveland next week. The U.S. consulate in Munich confirmed that Demjanjuk’s body was being returned to his family, according to reports.
The Associated Press reported this week that Jewish leaders are concerned that a Demjanjuk grave site in the United States could become a shrine to neo-Nazis.
Demjanjuk, 91, died in an old-age home in southern Germany, where he was free while he appealed his conviction last year by a Munich court for his role in the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.
Demjanjuk, born and raised in Ukraine, immigrated to the United States following World War II. In 1986 he deported to Israel to face trial on charges of being Ivan the Terrible. A court there sentenced him to death, but the Israeli Supreme Court ordered him released due to reasonable doubt, while noting that substantial evidence emerged during the trial identifying him as a guard at Sobibor. Demjanjuk returned to suburban Cleveland in 1993 and resisted multiple attempts to strip him of his citizenship and deport him again.
But he lost that battle in 2009, and U.S. authorities deported him to Germany. Last May he was convicted for his crimes in Sobibor, and he was sentenced to five years in prison.