The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Demjanjuk Case - Factual and Legal Details (Part 2 of 2)
Summary: 
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Sobibor,Treblinka,Demjanjuk

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/demjanjuk demjanjuk.s1-2
Last-Modified: 1994/01/07

10. During this period, two enquiries were held in Germany on behalf
    of the prosecution:

    (A) On June 9, and June 11, 1987 the testimony was heard in Berlin
    of Otto Horn -- German S.S.  man at Treblinka -- who in a
    photographs identification session identified, even during the
    O.S.I.  investigations (1979), the photographs of Demjanjuk as
    Ivan, operator of the gas chambers at Treblinka.  This enquiry
    took place before an examining magistrate in the presence of the
    Israeli court which travelled to Berlin for the purpose.  The
    hearing was conducted in a manner similar to the Israeli hearing,
    i.e.  -- Horn was subjected to a main examination and to
    reexamination, and the Israeli court judges were also enabled to
    ask a number of questions.

    (B) On May 18, 1987 an enquiry was conducted in Cologne, Germany,
    of Helmut Leonardt, an 'administration officer' at Trawniki.  Here
    too, the enquiry was held before an examining magistrate; the
    parties were enabled to question the witness in examination in
    chief, cross examination and reexamination.  This witness cast
    additional light on the question of the authenticity of the
    Trawninki certificate in recognizing also the type of document and
    the signatures and particulars set forth therein.

11. On July 20, 1987, the case for the prosecution was concluded and
    the case for the defense began.

    After the opening argument of the counsel for the defense,
    Demjanjuk was called to the witness stand as No.  1 witness for
    the defense.  His interrogation lasted five days (between the end
    of July and the beginning of August) covering everything he had
    done during the pre-war period, during the war, after the war
    (when he spent several years in Europe) and during his life in the
    United States until his being extradited to Israel.

    At the other sittings up to August 19, 1987 (7 sittings), the
    defense put on the witness stand two female expert witnesses from
    the United States who were to prove that the Trawniki certificate
    was a forgery.

    Due to the illness of one of the panel judges, hearings in the
    trial were suspended until after September 19, 1987, and resumed
    only on October 26, 1987.

    Between October 26, 1987 and January 11, 1988, (30 sessions) the
    defense called to the witness stand:

    (A) Additional expert witnesses to prove its allegation regarding
    the forgery of the Trawniki certificate.  These witnesses were
    primarily from the United States and Europe while two were from
    Israel.

    (B) Expert witnesses -- historians -- to prove the plausibility of
    the Accused's alibi plea and to contradict the testimony of the
    prosecution's expert.

    (C) An expert witness on issues of memory and identification
    parades: a Professor of psychology from the Netherlands.

    (D) In January 1988 there took place in Germany an enquiry of the
    German S.S.  officer, Rudolf Rais 'administration officer from
    Trawniki'.  This enquiry, this time on behalf of the defense, took
    place in a format identical to that of the prosecution's
    enquiries.  (The Court was not present at this enquiry).  This
    enquiry too, related to the allegations of the certificate's being
    a forgery.

    12. The summings-up in the case were heard at two stages:

    (A) First stage -- summings-up by the prosecution -- end of
    January beginning of February 1988 (8 sessions).

    (B) In March 1988 the defense submitted additional written
    evidence.

    (C) Second stage -- completion of the summings-up of the
    prosecution and the defense after the aforesaid additional
    evidence -- March 1988 (3 sessions).

13.  A.  The protocols of the Demjanjuk trial (not including the
    verdict) hold 10,684 pages (in Hebrew) and some 15,000 pages (in
    English).

     B.  To date of the verdict, there were submitted on behalf of the
    prosecution -- 290 exhibits; and on behalf of the defense -- 177
    exhibits.  The exhibits hold some 5,000 additional pages (usually
    in both the original language and translation).

14.  On April 18, 1988 the verdict was given, occupying 144 pages.
    Demjanjuk was convicted on all counts imputed to him in the
    indictment.

    The greater part of the judgment naturally relates to the question
    of the quality of the identification and its veracity, based on
    the entire body of evidence adduced.  A not inconsiderable part of
    the judgment of course discusses all the other questions and
    aspects reviewed above, including the authenticity of the Trawniki
    certificate, Demjanjuk's service at the Sobibor death camp and the
    refutation of his alibi.

    The verdict ends with the conclusion that there was no doubt left
    in the mind of the Court as to Demjanjuk's having been a Wachman
    in the service of the S.S., who was trained for the work of murder
    at Trawniki, operated the gas chambers at Treblinka and there
    earned the nickname of 'Ivan the Terrible', and also as having
    served later as a Wachman at the Sobibor death camp.

15. On April 25, 1988, after the pleadings of both sides regarding
    the penalty were heard, Demjanjuk was sentenced to death.


                CHAPTER THREE - THE APPEAL - STAGE I 
                           (1988 - 1990) 

1.  The notice of appeal filed by the defense occupied 101 pages and
    reopened the hearing on all matters and all bones of contention
    that had come up between it and the prosecution in the district
    court.  A plea that constantly recurred in the entire notice of
    appeal, was that the court that had sat in judgment was biased
    against the defense counsel and against the appellant, and this
    fact had clouded its judgment and made it blind to the reality of
    the evidence.  Accordingly, the defense counsel said, inasmuch as
    this defect touched on the root of the matter, the Court had
    issued a judgment that was entirely erroneous, and the Appellant
    ought rightfully be acquitted of all charges.

2.  In the period from April 25, 1988 (date of sentence) to May 14,
    1990 (date of commencement of the hearing of the appeal) there
    took place numerous sessions of the Supreme Court, in which
    various issues of the case were discussed, additional evidence was
    admitted in appeal, and an additional enquiry was conducted in
    Germany of a female defense witness, whose testimony was alleged
    vital to establishing the plausibility of Demjanjuk's alibi plea.

3.  A.  On May 14, 1990, the Supreme Court convened in a panel of five
    judges to hear the appeal itself.  Heading the panel was Justice
    Meir Shamgar, along with Deputy President Menahem Eilon and
    Justices Aharon Barak, Eliezer Goldberg and Yaakov Meltz, and the
    hearing of the appeal commenced.

    B.  The defense pleaded its case May 14-29, 1990 (ten sessions).
    The prosecution responded by pleading its case May 31-June 20,
    1990 (twelve sessions).  The defense counsel responded last June
    26-28, 1990 (three sessions).

4.  As stated, the appeal itself related to all the subjects reviewed
    before the lower court -- most of them factual matters, even
    though legal issues also featured prominently.

    A.  The defense again attacked the identification issue in detail,
    and again produced its version as to the Trawninki certificate
    being a forgery -- analyzing the testimony of the experts and
    attacking the findings of the lower court, even in matters of
    decision based on the confidence placed by the court in a certain
    expert, preferring him over an expert of conflicting opinion.  The
    defense again advanced the Appellant's sweeping alibi plea, n
    amely that throughout the period relevant to the indictment the
    Appellant was being held in a prison camp and never enlisted in
    the service of the S.S.  and above all, the following plea was
    repeatedly advanced: 'The Court had a deep-seated bias against the
    Accused and against the defense counsel -- from which it did not
    free itself throughout the trial period.  This bias nourished
    itself from the press and found expression in overt hostility
    toward the defense counsel, in erroneous interim decisions and in
    a judgment which is fundamentally tainted'.

    B.  The prosecution, in its reply, answered the pleas put forward
    by the counsel for the defense, relying on the evidence before the
    court, including that which had been added, and with reference to
    the determination of the lower court on the subject.

5.  Upon conclusion of the hearing of the parties' pleas in the
    appeal, the court adjourned to study the material in evidence, in
    voluminous protocols and pleadings in order to give its decision
    on the case.

6.  A.  In the period from the passing of judgment in April 1988 to
    the end of the hearing of the parties' pleadings in the appeal --
    there occurred number of developments obliging the prosecution, in
    line with its concept of its role in the case in general and in
    this trial in particular, to endeavor to thoroughly investigate
    various aspects of the issues reviewed in the trial.

    B.  The prosecution assessed that evidence material found in the
    U.S.S.R.  might shed light on these issues and that the thaw in
    international relations between the two states should be utilized
    for initiating measures that would perhaps afford it access to the
    aforesaid potential material.

    C.  The account of the prosecution's contacts with the U.S.S.R.,
    including the discovery of the evidence material there --
    described in the next chapter.


            CHAPTER FOUR - RELATIONS WITH THE SOVIET UNION 
                 TO THE SECOND STAGE OF THE APPEAL 
                   AND THE PLEADINGS THEMSELVES 

1.  A.  Even before Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel by the U.S.,
    the State of Israel made attempts to apply to the prosecution
    authorities in the Soviet Union, in any possible way.  The
    prosecution sent the Prosecutor General of the U.S.S.R.  lengthy
    and detailed applications, both written and oral, explaining its
    intention of bringing Demjanjuk to criminal trial, giving details
    of the offenses imputed to him, in the spirit of the indictment
    about to be brought against him, and in accordance with the facts
    already established in various courts in the United States.

    B.  In these applications an attempt was made to secure the
    assistance of the U.S.S.R.  in all relevant evidence material
    found in its possession and which might adduce further information
    on Demjanjuk's crimes in the era of nazi rule, about Treblinka in
    general, and specific additional aspects connected with the
    evidence material in the file, including an effort to resolve the
    problems therein.

    C.  Despite the aforesaid effort (which lasted also throughout the
    hearing of the case before the special tribunal in Jerusalem), no
    relevant evidence material was received from the U.S.S.R., except
    for the Trawniki certificate which arrived even before the trial
    commenced, and three other certificates of the same kind which
    arrived in Israel in the summer of 1987, and were likewise
    submitted in evidence in the trial (at the stage of the defense's
    evidence).

2.  A.  Immediately after judgement was pronounced in the spring of
    1988, the prosecution embarked on a new series of contacts, with
    the aim of arriving at direct dialogue with members of the Soviet
    Prosecution General.

    B.  In the then situation of absence of diplomatic or other
    relations between the two states, the prosection had perforce to
    act indirectly, through brokers, both in the west and in the East
    Bloc.  Thus there were operating at the same time persons close to
    the ruling junta in the U.S.S.R.  and office holders having
    regular working relations with the Prosecution General and other
    sources.

    C.  After several months, various sources contrived to mediate
    between the offices, and representatives of the Israeli
    Prosecution me representatives of the Chief Prosecutor's Office of
    the Soviet Union.

    D.  Even if the meeting, by nature, could not yield immediate
    fruit, these qualified relations, once having been created, were
    cultivated by the Israeli prosecution for a period of two years,
    while awaiting an opportune moment in which it would be possible
    to widen the tiny aperture and even take some practical steps in
    the U.S.S.R.

3.  The opportune moment arrived with the change in the political
    situation within the Soviet Union in 1990.  Then too, relations
    between the two Prosecution offices thawed to the point where
    after a series of applications and mutual discussions, the General
    Prosecutors's Office of the U.S.S.R consented to allow
    representatives of the Israeli prosecution to come to Moscow, as
    official visitors, to study there any protocol of the trial
    conducted against the criminal Fiodor Federenko in the summer of
    1986, in the town of Semapropol in the Crimean Peninsula
    [Federenko, it will be recalled, was a Wachman at Treblinka, who
    was deported from the United States to the Soviet Union after
    being denaturalized].  The prosecution believed it ought to study
    these Soviet files if only by reason of the fact that they
    consisted of twenty two thick volumes of investigation and trial
    material and might yield evidence relevant to the present trial
    too.  Thus, in December 1990, (about six months after the end of
    the pleadings in Demjanjuk's appeal before the Supreme Court as
    stated), two representatives of the prosecution went to Moscow and
    there studied the Federenko file and all the material of the
    investigation and trial contained in it (all of it being in
    Russian) for several days.

    From an examination of the material in the file and from talks
    with representatives of the Soviet prosecution who had conducted
    the trial in 1986 and with members of Office of the Prosecutor
    General in Moscow, it became apparent that as early as 1944 and
    thenceforth, the investigative and judiciary authorities in the
    Soviet Union had been spotting Wachmans, being citizens of the
    Soviet Union, who had operated at the death camps and
    concentration camps to all intents and purposes as S.S.  officers.
    These criminals had been arrested, interrogated and tried, some
    had been executed and others had been sentenced to long prison
    terms.  The investigations and trials were held in various states
    throughout the Soviet Union, but primarily in the Ukraine.  Inter
    alia, it transpired that investigations and trials had been
    conducted against S.S.  Wachmans who had committed crimes at the
    death camps of Treblinka and Sobibor.

    Passages from these investigations as expressed in statements,
    testimony and documents were submitted in evidence at the trial of
    Federenko in 1986 insofar as they pertained to his crimes or to
    crimes of Wachmans in general, at the camps where Federenko had
    operated.

    As to matters relating to the trial of Demjanjuk in Israel, the
    representatives of the prosecution found in Federenko's file an
    abundance of relevant material, except that the trouble was that
    most of it, as presented there, was split up and copied in various
    parts from the originals -- meaning from the files of the
    investigations and trials of other Wachmans that had been
    conducted throughout the U.S.S.R.  during 1944 and 1962.

    From December 1990 to June 1992 the two representatives of the
    Israeli prosecution engaged, in the course of several visits to
    Moscow, and later also Kiev, in reading a great deal of evidence
    material collected for them, at their request and in accordance
    with their directives, from various K.G.B.  archives throughout
    the U.S.S.R.

    The subject material concerned crimes of Wachmans who had engaged
    in the killing of Jews at Treblinka, Sobibor and other camps.  It
    emanated from the investigation and trial dossiers of those
    criminals.

    Out of this whole sea of material, the prosecution brought to
    Israel the essentials of the evidence, directly impacting on key
    issues, under review in the Israeli court during the years the
    case was being conducted here.  (This due to constraints of
    language, quantity and, of course, the Russians' preparedness to
    cooperate).

    It should be noted that the prosecution actually managed to
    persuade the Muscovite judiciary authorities to enable the defense
    itself to study all the evidence material in Moscow.  Dates were
    set for this and the defense counsel was informed of them, but the
    defense did not appear to study the material throughout the entire
    week allotted to it.

4.  Essentially, the evidence material found by the prosecution
    contained the following:

    A.  Statements and evidence by Wachmans from Treblinka (including
    photographic identification parades), which in addition to
    describing the horrors perpetrated by them there -- related to
    other Wachmans who took part together with them in these crimes.
    Inter alia, it emerged from their depositions, that the name of
    the operator of the gas chambers at Treblinka was Ivan Marchenko
    (some actually pointed to various photographs as bearing the
    picture of this same Marchenko) -- for example, the 'passport'
    photograph found on the official certificate from Trawniki --
    Personalbogen No.  476 -- belonging to a Wachman named Ivan
    Marchenko, or a photograph of two Wachmans, of which one it was
    said that he was the aforesaid Marchenko).

    Note: In view of the defense allegations based on this evidence,
    that it emerged unequivocally from the statements that the
    operator of the gas chambers at Treblinka was Ivan Marchenko and
    not Ivan Demjanjuk -- the prosecution analyzed the evidence in
    great detail and pointed to the significant difference existing
    between a superficial reading of it on the one hand and its true
    contents on the other.  This of course has implications for the
    issue of the identity of the operator of the gas chambers at
    Treblinka.

    B.  Statements and testimony by Wachmans from Sobibor some of whom
    had previously served at Treblinka and who describe the horrors of
    their deeds there, emphasize the absolute identity between the two
    'death factories' as they put it -- Treblinka and Sobibor.

    C.  In statements of the Wachman Ignat Danielczinko, the file of
    whose 1949 trial was located and brought in its entirety to be
    studied in Moscow, it it emerges that even in 1949 he attested in
    the course of his interrogations to the fact that together with
    him, in the spring of 1943, there served at the Sobibor death camp
    a Wachman named Ivan Demjanjuk.  Danielczinko gives identifying
    details as to Demjanjuk and especially adds that after their acts
    at Sobibor, he and Demjanjuk transferred together to the
    Fluessenberg concentration camp, where they were tattooed with the
    S.S.  inscription under their left armpits.  (Demjanjuk had such a
    tattoo which he had removed after the war).  In the file is also a
    certificate of service of Danielczinko, which is identical to the
    Trawniki certificate of Demjanjuk and many other important
    details).

    D.  Original German posting lists, from the era of the nazi rule,
    in which S.S.  Wachmans are posted for service at various death
    camps and concentration camps.

    One of the items found was a list of postings of Wachmans to the
    Sobibor death camp dated March 26, 1943, containing Demjanjuk's
    name together with all his true personal particulars (date of
    birth, where born etc.).  Also found was a list of Wachman
    postings from October 1943 to the Fluessenberg concentration camp,
    where Demjanjuk's name also appears as one of the Wachmans sent to
    serve there, with all his personal particulars alongside his exact
    name.

    E.  In addition to the above mentioned lists, there was discovered
    in another archives in the (former) Soviet Union a disciplinary
    complaint sheet against Demjanjuk and three other Wachmans, for a
    breach of orders prohibiting them from leaving the area of the
    Maidanek concentration camp in January 1943.

    F.  The representatives of the prosecution also sorted out from
    these files authentic German documents, statements and
    depositions, directly impacting a wide diversity of topics that
    came up during the years of hearing the case.

5.  This evidentiary material was naturally collected in stages, and
    between one stage and the next the prosecution in Israel would
    analyze it and form a view on where to look for additional
    material so as to complete the picture (the material, most of
    which is written in Russian handwriting, was of course translated
    into Hebrew, to enable both the defense and the Court to study it
    in depth).

    From the first time the representatives of the prosecution
    returned from the Soviet Union and met for a hearing in court
    together with the defense, the prosecution kept the Supreme Court
    informed of each and every stage of the discovery of this
    material.  The prosecution informed the court of the content of
    the material and eventually the material -- original and
    translation -- was submitted in evidence to the court.  The
    defense counsel for his part, would apply to the court whenever
    the prosecution delivered to it material from the U.S.S.R.  with
    vigorous applications to conclude Demjanjuk's trial 'at once and
    with a complete acquittal' of all the offenses with which he was
    charged.  His argument was that the material brought by the
    prosecution probably indicated that the operator of the gas
    chambers was another man named Ivan Marchenko, and not Ivan
    Demjanjuk -- the Appellant.

    All these applications were reviewed at length by the Court.  In
    the hearings the parties set forth their pleadings in great
    detail, citing quotations from the evidence already given, and the
    Supreme Court decided once more not to release Demjanjuk at once,
    and to enable the prosecution to go on investigating and to
    continue to bring all relevant evidence material that it could
    find from the K.G.B.  archives.

6.  Following the discovery and deciphering of the evidence material
    relating directly to the Appellant -- in various documents in the
    U.S.S.R.  -- an effort was made to trace additional material in
    his case in the west (this time in the context of his service in
    the Fluessenberg concentration camp -- a concentration and death
    camp located on the border between west Germany and
    Czechoslovakia).  This attempt resulted in the discovery of the
    end of a thread found in the National Archives of West Germany in
    the town of Koblenz, Germany.

    Two representatives of the prosecution established contact with
    the directors of the archives and after ascertaining that a body
    of evidence did in fact exist, that concerned the Fluessenberg
    concentration camp, they made the trip, sought among tens of
    thousands of documents, and found three authentic German documents
    relating directly to Demjanjuk.

    1.  'Ascent of Guard' Form - A list, dated October 1944, of
    Wachmans accompanying prisoners to forced labor at the
    Fluessenberg concentration camp, with Demjanjuk's name appearing
    in the list together with his personal number from Trawniki --
    1393 (the same number appearing in the certificate!) (also the
    name of Danielczinko appears along with his personal number --
    1016 -- identical to what was already found in the U.S.S.R.  in
    his trial dossier there dating from 1949).

    2.  Wachmans postings list - List of 117 Wachmans from
    Fluessenberg with Demjanjuk's name appearing with personal number
    -- 1393.

    3.  Armory ledger - A ledger containing exact entries of all
    weapons distributed to Wachmans on their arrival to serve at the
    Fluessenberg camp -- with inter alia the names of Demjanjuk and
    Danielczinko as having received a rifle and a bayonet on October
    8, 1943.

7.  In June 1992, 'supplementary pleadings' were heard in the appeal
    in the course of which the parties summed up all the evidence in
    the case, with everything existing in it, especially in view of
    the great amount of material added to the file by the prosecution
    from the end of the pleadings in the appeal in the summer of 1990
    to June 1992.

    Altogether the prosecution adduced an additonal 100 exhibits on
    its behalf, all of them from the Soviet Union.  These documents
    occupy about 1,800 pages in Russian handwriting and along with
    their Hebrew language translation.  The defense added about 30
    exhibits.

8.  With the conclusion of the summing up of the parties as aforesaid,
    the Supreme Court turned to an examination of the case which had
    doubled its volume.

    The decision of the Israeli Supreme Court will be presented on
    Thursday, July 29, 1993.


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