Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, sentenced to death for killing hundreds of thousands of Jews as a gas chamber operator dubbed "Ivan the Terrible," has vowed to try to escape the hangman's noose.

"I am not Ivan the Terrible. I do not deserve this. I am innocent, innocent, innocent, as God is my witness," Demjanjuk told three Jerusalem court judges in a booming voice before he was sentenced on Monday.His appeal, automatic when the death sentence is involved, could take months. Even if the Supreme Court upholds the verdict and the punishment, Israel's President Chaim Herzog may commute the sentence on the recommendation of the Justice Minister.