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The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In 2009, Harper's Magazine sent war-crimes expert Lawrence Douglas to Munich to cover the last chapter of the lengthiest case ever to arise from the Holocaust: the trial of eighty-nine-year-old John Demjanjuk. Demjanjuk's legal odyssey began in 1975, when American investigators received evidence alleging that the Cleveland autoworker and naturalized US citizen had collabor ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Princeton University Press (first published December 21st 2015)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Start your review of The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial
Mikey B.
Warning: disturbing passages contained within

This is an astute examination of the many trials of John (Ivan) Demjanjuk. Demjanjuk was put on trial in Israel and then Germany. He was extradited twice from the United States – his citizenship revoked.

The first time, in 1986, he was put on trial in Israel where he was thought to be the sadistic Ivan the Terrible. Israel sentenced him to die, but with the dissolution of the Soviet Union records were made available showing definitively that Demjanjuk
Steven Z.
As Lawrence Douglas, an Amherst College law professor describes in his new book, THE RIGHT WRONG MAN: JOHN DEMJANJUK AND THE LAST GREAT NAZI WAR CRIMES TRIAL, the former Ford Motor employee was “little more than a peon at the bottom of the Nazis exterminatory hierarchy.” However, what makes him important is the legal odyssey he navigated from 1975 to his death in 2012. Demjanjuk survived a number of major trials; denaturalization hearings in the United States, prosecution in Israel, and his fina ...more
Yuliya Yurchuk
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Це насправді ціла Одіссея Івана Дем’янюка - людини, яку кілька разів звинувачували у колаборації з нацистами і злочинах проти людства. Це такий гостросюжетний роман, що важко уявити за ним справжнє життя. А ще з книжки ви дізнаєтеся дуже багато про те, як розвивалося законодавство і основні підходи до вирішення повоєнних судів над нацистами.
David Corleto-Bales
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The strange legal odyssey of John Demjanjuk, Cleveland autoworker and accused Nazi camp guard, who was stripped of his American citizenship twice between the late 1970s and 2000s. A Ukrainian who was in the Soviet Army during World War II, Demjanjuk was captured by the Germans and impressed into service as a guard in a death camp, later gaining entry to the United States while concealing this fact. Years later he was mistakenly identified as a brutal Treblinka camp guard known as "Ivan the Terri ...more
4.0 for my own personal enjoyment, but 5.0 for the writing itself. I can't imagine trying to write about this topic and make it interesting, easy to understand, and clear. What an achievement.

This book was not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be a fairly straightforward true crime kind of book, only with the uncomfortable twist of that true crime being part of the largest act of genocide the world has ever known. That’s not what it is.

This is a book, actually, about legal history. Wh
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the sources for the documentary about Demjanjuk case, The Devil Next Door, which is why I picked it up. It's a very tough slog -- written by a law professor in language that is dull and sentences that are difficult. It's more about the procedures and laws regarding the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in three countries, rather than the sociological impact of their crimes.

Daniel Farabaugh
This was a fascinating book that addressed a lot of interconnected topics and did an excellent job of balancing them. It managed to be clear about the changing legal situations in multiple countries. The narratives of the lives of the people involved were engaging. Most especially interesting was the discussions of culpability and responsibility at the heart of any Nazi war crimes trial.
Tara Brock
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very interesting and well researched book. Selves into the laws in place and how countries can ‘self correct’ and learn from their mistakes. This is a must read after reading The atrial of Ivan the Terrible.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you watch the documentary on Netflix, you only get part of the story. This book, while difficult to read in parts because of legal jargon, fills in the gaps left by the documentary.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I read this account of the pursuit of Ivan Demjanjuk written by Lawrence Douglas for war crimes associated with his service as a camp guard at Sobibor during the Holocaust for a discussion group, so I ordinarily wouldn't have chosen this book as I was reasonably familiar with the subject. But, once I got into the book, I got a good appreciation of the legal issues involved, particularly as it related to Germany. There, the prohibition of the use of retroactive law was a serious impediment to pri ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subject of the book is fascinating, so I thought the book would be. But for me, the book was a bit too long and the author obvious with his opinion. I have no problem with an opinionated author, but on one hand, it seemed like he was trying to present the facts but would present them in a way that was very leading. I kept reading it for the pieces of the story I wanted to learn about, but wasn't thrilled with the book as a whole. I feel like it might've been better as a long form article, wh ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book illuminates the nature of the entire legal enterprise of prosecuting Nazi war crimes in a rich and thorough way. It is lively, fascinating, and engaging. A must-read for anyone interested in Holocaust history or in the legal prosecution of war crimes in general.
The Jewish Book Council
Review by Jack Fischel for the Jewish Book Council. ...more
Steve Gross
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the definitive account of the Demjanjuk story. Well told with an emphasis on the legal aspects.
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Michael S.
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