I whipped out my handy-dandy calculator (well, actually I clicked on its icon) let the math happen, and calculated that he gets 15.6 days in prison for each person he helped to exterminate.
At that rate, it would pay some enterprising-but-out-of-work person to contract to kill, say, three people at $25,000 a head. You, for example? You'd have to do 46 days plus in prison, but you'd emerge with 75 grand in walking around money. Not a bad tradeoff.
Why such a light sentence?
I get the feeling the legal authorities felt sorry for Demjanjuk. He’s 91, wheelchair-bound, and got schlepped almost straight from court to the tender ministrations of what I suppose are geriatric nursing home nurses. And he had been on trial for two years. Poor baby!
Okay, okay, to be fair to the prisoner, an Israeli court dismissed a conviction against him (which named him as "Ivan The Terrible," a particularly sadistic death camp guard) as a case of "mistaken identity." And Demjanjuk claims he was framed by the Soviets, although it's hard to imagine why they'd go to all that trouble to mess up an otherwise nonentity.
Anyway, he’s not off to the clink yet anyway. He has six months or more of an appeals process coming up, during which he’s free to enjoy his nursing care, so long as he doesn’t leave the country.
My guess is he’ll die of natural causes before the bars ever slam shut behind him . Meanwhile the Ukranian community of Munich will take care of him and his ailments.
And not with gas in a “shower room.”
Too bad. This is almost a case of life imitating art, the art being a 1970-something book by Lawrence Block in his Tanner mystery series called The Case of the Cancelled Czech.
Tanner, a kind of freelance secret agent, captures another doddering former concentration camp killer and wheels him – on a gurney if I remember correctly – to an oven, and shoves the SOB in while he's still alive.
However, real life is so much more civilized than art.
Except when it isn't.