Posted Sunday, December 19, 1999

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From Yoram Sheftel: The Demjanjuk Affair. The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial (Victor Gollancz 1994), pages 336 and 337: how the Israelis, American OSI, and West Germans collaborated to conceal the KGB forgery of a fake identity card in an attempt to hang an innocent man.




John DemjanjukIsrael to the US, and less than a fortnight after the material from the material from the American Embassy in Moscow was sent to the State Department 'in Washington and to Mendelson in Tel Aviv. Could the 'Potential Difficulties in the Demjanjuk Case' be anything other than the material sent from Moscow? And could the 'Recommendations for Solving Them' relate to anything other than concealing that material?

Before the reader reaches any conclusion, I would like to draw his attention to an internal OSI document from 1986, written by Bruce Einhorn to another OSI attorney, Martin Zachs. Nishnic had submitted a suit to the federal court in Washington, demanding that the OSI immediately turn over to him all material in their possession relating to the Demjanjuk trial. This internal memo expresses 'concern over the [public] integrity of the Israeli prosecution ... release of our material now would, in all probability, reveal (and could easily undermine and prejudice) the Israeli prosecution strategy...' The document concluded that the OSI would oppose handing the material to the Demjanjuk family. It was written after Demjanjuk's extradition to Israel, but before his trial began. The reader may now decide whether or not the Israeli legal authorities collaborated with other parties in concealing evidence connected to Demjanjuk.

As if this were not enough, the German weekly Stern published a shocking revelation on 5 March 1992, proving unmistakably that the Israeli prosecution concealed crucial information about the Travniki document's being a forgery; Israelis had had the full co-operation of the German police and Ministry of Justice. The article states that on 23 January 1987, three weeks before the show-trial began, Superintendent Amnon Bezaleli took the original Travniki document for examination at the German police force's main criminal-identification laboratory in Wiesbaden, known by its initials as the BKA [Bundeskriminalamt]. Bezaleli, it will be remembered, was the head of Israel Police's document-examination laboratory and the prosecution s central witness on the Travniki document.

According to Stern, the BKA, after a cursory examination, told Bezaleli that this was a counterfeit document forged in a more or less amateur way. The laboratory analysts addressed the following points, among others: the face in the photograph, which the prosecution identified as Demjanjuk's, had been pasted on to the uniform using photomontage techniques; the picture was not originally attached to the card, but had been transferred from another document; there was no match between the seal on the Travniki picture and that on the document itself The analysts did not have time to compare Demjanjuk's known signature with the Demjanjuk signature on the Travniki document, but even more serious revelations appear in the rest of the article.




Dr. Louis Ferdinand Werner, head of the BKA, informed Bezaleli of the results of the preliminary examination in a private conversation. Bezaleli consulted people from the state prosecutor's office in Jerusalem, then announced to Werner that all tests on the Travniki document should be halted at once. Even when Dr. Werner told Bezaleli that with the results of further tests, which would take no more than two weeks, he would be able to provide a comprehensive report on the document and its faults, the Israeli position did not change. Bezaleli took the document and returned to Israel with all due haste. Dr. Werner wrote a memo in the wake of these events, in which he said, 'Regarding this case, the experts' doubts will be subordinated to political aspects. The discovery of true facts in this case is not what is important here.'

When Stern's correspondent had presented this information to Shaked and asked for his reaction, he made no denial. 'We base ourselves on our experts' opinions and continue to consider them persuasive,' he said. Dr. Werner's memo lay hidden for years in a German safe.

So for years Shaked and Bezaleli, with the help of the German authorities, concealed vital information: that the world's most authoritative and reliable body for determining the authenticity of documents from the Third Reich needed only a cursory examination to state unequivocally that the Travniki document was no more than an amateur forgery. I believe the reader will need no further assistance in deciding whether the Israeli public prosecutors knew throughout the Demjanjuk show-trial that Ivan Marchenko was Ivan the Terrible.

Calling the entire affair 'Operation Justice' could only be termed cynical. Israel Police's special investigation team was called the Justice Team; the wing in which Demjanjuk's cell in the Ayalon Prison was located was called the Justice Wing; the shameful show-trial was nicknamed Justice 1, and the appeal Justice 2.

There is no escaping the fact that the public prosecutor's office and the special court conducted a show-trial of Demjanjuk. Not only was the wrong man put on trial; the whole affair began with a despicable plot, an international conspiracy of five countries - the Soviet Union, Poland, the United States, Germany and Israel. The first three knew for certain, for many years, even before Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel, that he was not Ivan the Terrible. The fourth, Germany, did not volunteer anything about the faults in the Travniki document. Was the Israeli state prosecutor's office, in addition to its manufacture of Otto Horn's 'identification' and concealing the truth about the Travniki document, also a partner in the conspiracy that created this disgraceful sham? Based on all the facts before them, my readers may decide.


 Our dossier on John Demjanjuk

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