CLEVELAND - Deported by the United States, retired autoworker John Demjanjuk was carried in a wheelchair onto a jet that departed Monday evening for Germany, which wants to try him as an accessory to the murders of Jews and others at a Nazi death camp in World War II.
Demjanjuk, 89, arrived in an ambulance at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport after spending several hours with U.S. immigration officials at a downtown federal building. Airport commissioner Khalid Bahhur confirmed Demjanjuk was on a plane to Germany.
The deportation came four days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Demjanjuk's request to block deportation and about 31/2 years after he was last ordered deported.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk is wanted on a Munich arrest warrant that accuses him of 29,000 counts of accessory to murder as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The legal case spans three decades.
A German Justice Ministry spokesman, Ulrich Staudigl, said the retired autoworker was expected to be in Germany by Tuesday.
Demjanjuk denies Germany's accusations, saying he was held by the Germans as a Soviet prisoner of war and was never a camp guard. Demjanjuk's family fought deportation, arguing he is in poor health and might not survive the trans-Atlantic journey.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, a founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Demjanjuk deserves to be punished and that this will likely be the last trial of someone accused of Nazi war crimes.
'His work at the Sobibor death camp was to push men, women and children into the gas chamber,' Hier said in a statement. 'He had no mercy, no pity and no remorse for the families whose lives he was destroying.'
The center was established to locate and help bring to justice Nazi war criminals.
The deportation capped a day in which Demjanjuk said goodbye to his family and was visited by two priests at his home in Seven Hills, a Cleveland suburb.
He then slipped quietly into an ambulance parked in his driveway, his family members standing at the edge of the garage and holding up a floral-patterned bedsheet to block the view of reporters and photographers across the street.
Earlier Monday, his son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said an appeal in a U.S. court would go ahead even if his father isn't in the country.
'Given the history of this case and not a shred of evidence that he ever hurt one person let alone murdered anyone anywhere, this is inhuman even if the courts have said it is lawful,' Demjanjuk Jr. said.