John Demjanjuk: Where Is His Grave & How Did He Die?

Getty John Demjanjuk leaves the court after his verdict on May 12, 2011 in Munich.

John Demjanjuk is the focus of Netflix’s new documentary series, The Devil Next Door. Demjanjuk was an autoworker in Cleveland who was accused of being Ivan the Terrible, a Nazi concentration camp guard who committed terrible crimes. Where is his grave and how did he ultimately die? Demjanjuk died in 2012 and his death was not as part of a punishment for his crimes.


Demjanjuk Died of Natural Causes in a German Nursing Home

GettyJohn Demjanjuk in 2011.

Demjanjuk was convicted in Israel and sentenced to die by hanging, but his conviction was overturned after another person was accused of being Ivan the Terrible. He then regained his citizenship in the United States, and then was accused again of being Ivan the Terrible. In 1992, Ivan Marchenko was accused of being Ivan the Terrible by Demjanjuk’s son and others. Some believe that Demjanjuk was Ivan Marchenko, since Marchenko was his mother’s maiden name and he used the name on his Visa application, Newsweek reported. However, Demjanjuk’s attorney Yoram Sheftel said that Marchenko was not actually his mother’s maiden name.

It was never known for certain if Demjanjuk was indeed Ivan the Terrible, and he did not die as a result of a conviction for those crimes. In 2012, he died at the age of 91 while in a nursing home in Germany, two weeks before his 92nd birthday. He was still trying to appeal a guilty verdict when he died.

Demjanjuk died in 2012 of complications from a number of health issues, including chronic kidney disease and terminal bone marrow disease, Newsweek reported.

After Demjanjuk died in 2012, his wife Vera was still saying that the Justice Department had done a “dirty job,” Cleveland.com reported.


The Location of His Grave Was Kept Secret

GettyJohn Demjanjuk in 1993

The exact location of Demjanjuk’s grave isn’t known, likely because there was so much controversy after he died about where he was going to be buried.

According to Cleveland 19 in a recent article, Demjanjuk’s body was returned to the Cleveland, Ohio area. However, his exact burial site was kept secret because his family feared retaliation and protests if he had a public funeral. The Times of Israel also confirmed in a 2012 story that a Germany funeral home said his body would be sent to Cleveland.

A 2012 article in the Boston Globe noted that many people were opposed to his being buried in Ohio, worried his grave would become a “magnet” for neo-Nazis.

The Jewish News of Northern California reported that he was buried on March 31, 2012, two weeks after he died in Germany. His son, John Jr., requested that the location of his father’s grave not be made public. Find A Grave also notes that he was buried in Seven Hills, Ohio in a secret location near his family’s home.

Demjanjuk’s church in the United States was St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Cleveland.com shared. In a statement the cathedral said in 2012: “Our parish and the Ukrainian community have always supported Mr. Demjanjuk and his claim of innocence of committing the crimes of which he was accused.”

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