Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 11:54:27 -0500 (EST)
From: “Michael P. Stein”
Buchanan, Pat: “Dividing Line.” _New York Post_, Saturday, March 17,
‘IVAN THE TERRIBLE’ – MORE DOUBTS
This May, Israel’s Supreme Court will decide whether John Demjanjuk,
the Cleveland auto worker convicted of being “Ivan the Terrible,” the
butcher of Treblinka who operated the gas chamber, follows Adolph Eichmann
to the gallows.
Oddly, the closer Demjanjuk comes to death, the more certain his
innocence appears. Had we known in 1980, when he was stripped of U.S.
citizenship, what we know today, he would have walked out of his Cleveland
courtroom a free man.
Just weeks ago, CBS’ “60 Minutes” discovered Marianna Dudek in a
village near Treblinkia. Did she remember “Ivan the Terrble”? Indeed she
did: she had slept with him for the gold Ivan ha taken from the Jews, she
said; his real name was Ivan Marchenko.
At the War Crimes Commission in Warsaw, CBS was shown a list of guards
from Treblinka. Marchenko’s name was on it; Demjanjuk’s was not.
The only hard evidecnne against Demjanjuk remains the I.D. card from
Trawniki training camp, which puts Demjanjuk in a different camp, Sobibor.
Late in the Jerusalem trial, we learned that the U.S. Justice
Department had withheld evidence, dating to 1979, that another guard,
Danilchenko, also recalled Demjanjuk at Sobibor in the same months
Demjanjuk’s accusers swear he was at Treblinka.
Now, a U. S. researcher has finished an exhaustive study of the I.D.
card, and three like it from Soviet archives, delivered to Israel by Armand
Hammer. All four are patent forgeries.
Demjanjuk’s card, supposedly issued in mid-1942, is validated with the
seal of SS-Brigadefuehrer Odilo Globocnik. But Himmler himself dismissed
Globocnik in March of ’42, while Demjanjuk was still in the Red Army.
Three of the cards, including Demjanjuk’s, carry the stamp of the
Waffen SS; but the Waffen SS did not take over Trawniki until 1943, a year
after Demjanjuk supposedly departed.
On guard Juchnowoskij’s card, his picture is reversed (buttons are on
the left side of the blouse) while the numbers on the blouse are not
reversed, proof the picture was composed in a lab.
One card bears the signature of a Corporal Teufel; Teufel had been
promoted to sergeant three months before. The same card bears the signature
of Capt. Hoefle; Hoefle had already been promoted to Major to carry out the
deportation of the Warsaw Jews.
[Comment: It could easily have been standard practice to sign or
print cards in blank in batches, so that every new card would not require
hunting up the requisite signatures. That is my own experience with photo
IDs for U. S. military bases. The person who made my badge was not the
person who signed it – in fact, that signature was preprinted rather than
hand-signed. The blouse is more persuasive. Still, I would want to do
research before deciding there could not have been reversed-button
blouses. – mstein]
Moreover, graphic elements of the seals are grossly misaligned; the SS
thunderbolts are wrongly printed in the Roman script; one stamp is upside
Nazi documents have been copied professionally for years; why, then,
such clumsy forgeries? Simple: The KGB forgers had no authentic Trawniki
card to work from.
[Hmn. That should not have prevented them from getting the stamp right
side up – they did for the others, yes? – and the thunderbolts right – there
were plenty of examples of those, right? I’d like to see those cards for
myself; I suspect omitted information – mstein]
But what about the eyewitnesses?
Well, among the atrocities for which Demjanjuk must hang is using a
drill to bore into the rectum of prisoner Finkelstein. Only, in his 1945
sworn testimony, Finkelstein did not mention this.
Moreover, S. Reizman, the leader of the Treblinka prisoners, never
mentioned any Ivan in his list of the Ukrainian personnel at Treblinka,
compiled at meetings of survivors in Lodz on Nov 5, 1945.
Another witness at Demjanjuk’s trial swore in 1945 and 1947 that he’d
killed Ivan in 1943.
Is this collective perjury? No, something else. Since the war, 1,600
medical papers have been written on “The Psychological and Medical Effects
of the Concentration Camps on Holocaust Survivors.”
This so-called “Holocaust Survivor Syndrome” involves “group fantasies
of martyrdom and heroics.” Reportedly, half of the 20,000 survivor
testimonies in Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem are considered “unreliable,”
not to be used in trials.
[This, of course, is the infamous Krakowski misquote which refuses to
die no matter how many times it is pointed out that Krakowski sent a
correction right away. – mstein]
Finally, the death engine. During the war, the underground government
of the Warsaw Ghetto reported to London that the Jews of Treblinka were
being electrocuted and steamed to death.
The Israeli court, however, concluded that the murder weapon for
850,000 was the diesel engine from a Soviet tank which drove its exhaust
into the death chamber. All died in 20 minutes, Finkenstein swore in 1945.
[Did he have a watch? – mstein]
The problem is: Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to
kill anybody. In 1988, 97 kids, trapped 400 feet underground in a
Washington, DC tunnel while two locomotives spewed diesel exhaust into the
car, emerged unharmed after 45 minutes.
[I doubt they ran the engines for the full 45. I am very sure that
the volume of air, both total and per-person, was nowhere near as small as
in the Treblinka chambers. And Diesel engines can easily be adjusted to
be made more toxic – the letter from Becker to Rauff talks of proper
adjustment of the levers for the gassing vans. Presumably the Treblinka
operators also knew how to tinker with the exhaust. – mstein]
Demjanjuk’s weapon of mass murder cannot kill. The Soviet I.D. cards
are patent forgeries. Polish witnesses say “Ivan” was another man; Israeli
eyewitnesses contradict their own sworn statements, contradict one another,
and are contradicted in turn.
And John Demjanjuk, bewildered and innocent, advances toward execution.
God help us. We are the Salem judges of our own time.