Demjanuk on Netflix

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 14 Nov 2019 19:26

That's a meaningless statement.

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Gorque
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Gorque » 14 Nov 2019 20:14

JaneMary wrote:
14 Nov 2019 17:57
Gorque wrote:
14 Nov 2019 00:49
JaneMary wrote:
13 Nov 2019 18:00
Anyone want to discuss The Devil Next Door currently popular on Netflix that has reopened debate on this most complex and protracted of all war crimes cases?

If you watched it did you think it left out anything important?

Also, it's hard to do fact checking on some claims assorted. Particularly, does anyone know where it's possible to view English versions of the KGB and other Soviet interrogation transcripts used to exonerate Demjanjuk? Do you accept the orthodox story, that contradicts the survivors, that the Soviet-supplied evidence is reliable and truly demonstrates that Demnjanjuk wasn't the terrible? Does anyone know much about the conditions under which most of the trawniki were interrogated under the Soviet Union?
I found the series quite interesting and informative. What disturbed me, if true, was the withholding of evidence in the first Demjanjuk trial by the OSI that would have cleared him of being Ivan the Terrible. His reactions to some of the survivors in the first trial gave away, to me, his role as a Trawniki graduate.
I'm not too familiar with this forum so hope I'm doing the quote thing correctly.

I agree about JDs reaction. No innocent man smirks and grins and comes across so cocky in the face of such disturbing testimony. He was able to maintain composure where others couldnt because what was said to him was not a shock. Is that what you meant?
Hi JaneMary:

You're using the quote function just fine.

That is not what I meant. I believe his smirking was due to his general dislike of Jews. Nothing provably; Just a hunch. It might also have to do with their (the survivors) mis-identification of him as Ivan the Terrible and his reaction to their open animosity and hostility to him. A taunting by John Demjanjuk

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 15 Nov 2019 05:09

Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 18:29
JaneMary wrote:
14 Nov 2019 17:30
Thanks all for responding. I found the series interesting but then the whole convoluted case always has been. The series was also heartbreaking, watching those exasperated survivors testify that they recognized the man before them, only to be told they were all mistaken. In my opinion, one person could be. But all of them? With that much passion? No, in my opinion the survivors recognized JD, and wanted the right man to pay and they believed they had him. I realise this isnt the accepted narrative, as Sergey pointed out, but I think the case IS still unresolved and definitely needs more scholarly investigation.

So, being that JD was found guilty EXCEPT for the KGB-supplied evidence, the KGB evidence could have been faulty in a number of ways, and for a number of reasons.

1. How do we know that JDs workmates didn't conspire to implicate another man - a man they believed to be dead or safe (Marchenko)?

2. How do we know the KBG didn't pressure them to implicate the Ukranian THEY wanted implicated, for whatever reason of their own? Has the KGB never acted in such a way?

3. What elevates the written testimony of murderers (the trawniki) above the verbal, sworn testimony of survivors? Why does "everyone" except that the former is the reliable one?

4. How do we assess the KGB supplied evidence for ourselves?

5. That which I have been able to view and assess of the KGB supplied evidence raises questions about its reliability.

6. A book has recently been published by the daughter of another Treblinka survivor who maintained to her all his life, that JD was indeed Ivan the Terrible, and his evidence for this claim was barely touched on in the series.

I think the series was a little superficial in regard to my points and questions above. And I don't accept that this case is as over amd cut and dried as most people claim.
The conspiring hypothesis is obviously ridiculous, not only Trawniki men named Marchenko, and the Trawniki men consistently and independently identified the gas chamber operator throughout the decades at different places to different investigators; for this same reason we know they weren't pressured to name the same name since there's no evidence of any overarching NKVD/MGB/KGB conspiracy throughout the decades to frame one guy instead of the real culprit for an entirely incomprehensible reason.

As already explained, eyewitness identification after decades is not credible and the memories were tampered with by the dumb investigators through flawed procedures, thus also making such identifications useless in this particular case. I mean, false memories of events are a huge problem by themselves, and the visual memory is so much more volatile/malleable. So such ID had to be rejected independently of the fact that also conclusive counterevidence in the form of independent Trawniki (and not only) testimonies existed.

The KGB-supplied documents are great evidence, the question of the value of KGB (NKVD etc.) witnesses is more complicated as of course during the early years the use of the illegal methods was not unheard of, but that also changed with time, for in the 1960s some of the Trawnikis freely testified about the alleged coercion during their 1940s interrogations as far as their personal guilt was concerned, but they didn't deny having been in the camps, having witnessed the extermination and having correctly testified about the details. So the freely given 1960s (and later) testimonies, while casting some doubt on some of the confessions of personal crimes, tend to confirm the accuracy of the rest of the claims made in those testimonies. I.e. they can be used as historical sources and even in the trials, as was the case in the German court and as the OSI itself has been doing all the time.

So the case is clearly closed.
Sergey,

You said the Trawniki men consistently identified the gas chamber operator at different times in different places. Have you read transcripts of these interrogations? Where? What I've read showed inconsistencies in what they said. I have seen no evidence of the KGB wanting to frame one man over another, but that doesnt mean they didn't or that any reasons they may have had would be incomprehensible. There could have been numerous reasons. And what makes a conspiracy between Trawniki ridiculous? They were accomplices in crime. Aliases could have been planned from the start, especially for those involved directly in murder and savagery. The Russians were advancing throughout their time in the death camps and being recaptured by the Soviets would have been daily anxiety for them. They could have planned to identify each other, if some were captured, by code names/mothers maiden names - whatever, and stuck with them through the years. Why not? Or alternatively, they could have referred to workmates they believed to be dead or safe (Marchenko) and not to others. Why is it expected and accepted that they all threw each other under the bus rather than showed loyalty to their countrymen another sought to spare them torture, shame and punishment? The record keeping for Trawniki actually isnt that meticulous. There is documentary evidence placing JD at Trawniki and Sobibor and other places but Sobibor is a small number of kms from Treblinka. How long would he need to have been transferred to Treblinka to make an impression on prisoners there? How long do the survivors say they saw him there?

Why do you keep saying eyewitness identification so many years after the fact is flawed and even useless? And also, that you have this awareness of how unreliable it is but the courts, lawyers and survivors didn't? Why wouldnt the susrviours have considered, well maybe my memory of which man this really is flawed. What would make you more likely to consider that possibility than them? They knew a man's life depended on their remembering correctly. Are they less intelligent? Less logical? They would have MORE motivation for wanting the RIGHT man to be held accountable. People who have been victims always want the right person to pay, and they believed they had him. Why would the court have accepted and believed all the eyewitness testimony from so long ago if it was so useless? JD was found guilty based on it, which was only over turned because of documents the KGB produced.

When the knowledge of the OSI cover up/series of errors became public, did any survivors then retract their testimony and say, well I guess we got it wrong after all? Would they be as capable as you, at understanding the KGB supplied evidence? Yet they still rejected it in favour of what they remembered witnessing with their own eyes, didnt they? Why didnt they say, well all these Trawniki say Ivan the Terrible was Marchenko, so that must be right. Did they have a chance to look at Marchenko's photograph and say whether they recognized him when then 2 existing photos of him were available?

My understanding is that they maintained to their deathbeds, JD was terrible- the one they saw commit atrocities at Treblinka.

A survivor, Chaim Sztajer, for example testified his entire life that JD was Ivan the Terrible, though he wasn't called on to give testimony in the trial. In the latest book on his life an account is given of how he smashed Ivan through the back with a shovel during thr uprising, and during the trial he enquired about a scar that would have been left. And there was such a scar found. He could have looked at the KGB stuff and said well, I was mistaken, but he was thoroughly unconvinced by that evidence.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 15 Nov 2019 05:17

Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:19
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:13
What chocked me the most was the false testimony of a jewsih survivor who said to have killed Demaniuk in 1943 uprising...
The same man recognizing Demaniuk 40 years later...
Quite obviously he made an assumption of having killed Ivan in his earlier testimony (literally leaving him "for dead"), and as he convinced himself that Demjanjuk was the Ivan, he also realized that his earlier belief was an assumption. So it's neither here nor there.
It is unfortunate that he testified he had killed Ivan, making his later testimony that Ivan sat before him, less credible, but his earlier error does also make sense.

What makes less sense, to me at least, is forgetting the face of man you saw killing your countrymen, that you then attacked and tried to kill, yourself. It's something one would remember.

I know I can remember the face of a girl who bullied me in school 30 years ago - a much smaller crime. If someone showed me a bunch of strangers and her face, I'd know her face and I also recognize her now. It is incomprehensible that someone could show me the face of someone else and confuse my memory. That doesnt make sense.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 15 Nov 2019 06:27

JaneMary wrote:
15 Nov 2019 05:09
Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 18:29
JaneMary wrote:
14 Nov 2019 17:30
Thanks all for responding. I found the series interesting but then the whole convoluted case always has been. The series was also heartbreaking, watching those exasperated survivors testify that they recognized the man before them, only to be told they were all mistaken. In my opinion, one person could be. But all of them? With that much passion? No, in my opinion the survivors recognized JD, and wanted the right man to pay and they believed they had him. I realise this isnt the accepted narrative, as Sergey pointed out, but I think the case IS still unresolved and definitely needs more scholarly investigation.

So, being that JD was found guilty EXCEPT for the KGB-supplied evidence, the KGB evidence could have been faulty in a number of ways, and for a number of reasons.

1. How do we know that JDs workmates didn't conspire to implicate another man - a man they believed to be dead or safe (Marchenko)?

2. How do we know the KBG didn't pressure them to implicate the Ukranian THEY wanted implicated, for whatever reason of their own? Has the KGB never acted in such a way?

3. What elevates the written testimony of murderers (the trawniki) above the verbal, sworn testimony of survivors? Why does "everyone" except that the former is the reliable one?

4. How do we assess the KGB supplied evidence for ourselves?

5. That which I have been able to view and assess of the KGB supplied evidence raises questions about its reliability.

6. A book has recently been published by the daughter of another Treblinka survivor who maintained to her all his life, that JD was indeed Ivan the Terrible, and his evidence for this claim was barely touched on in the series.

I think the series was a little superficial in regard to my points and questions above. And I don't accept that this case is as over amd cut and dried as most people claim.
The conspiring hypothesis is obviously ridiculous, not only Trawniki men named Marchenko, and the Trawniki men consistently and independently identified the gas chamber operator throughout the decades at different places to different investigators; for this same reason we know they weren't pressured to name the same name since there's no evidence of any overarching NKVD/MGB/KGB conspiracy throughout the decades to frame one guy instead of the real culprit for an entirely incomprehensible reason.

As already explained, eyewitness identification after decades is not credible and the memories were tampered with by the dumb investigators through flawed procedures, thus also making such identifications useless in this particular case. I mean, false memories of events are a huge problem by themselves, and the visual memory is so much more volatile/malleable. So such ID had to be rejected independently of the fact that also conclusive counterevidence in the form of independent Trawniki (and not only) testimonies existed.

The KGB-supplied documents are great evidence, the question of the value of KGB (NKVD etc.) witnesses is more complicated as of course during the early years the use of the illegal methods was not unheard of, but that also changed with time, for in the 1960s some of the Trawnikis freely testified about the alleged coercion during their 1940s interrogations as far as their personal guilt was concerned, but they didn't deny having been in the camps, having witnessed the extermination and having correctly testified about the details. So the freely given 1960s (and later) testimonies, while casting some doubt on some of the confessions of personal crimes, tend to confirm the accuracy of the rest of the claims made in those testimonies. I.e. they can be used as historical sources and even in the trials, as was the case in the German court and as the OSI itself has been doing all the time.

So the case is clearly closed.
Sergey,

You said the Trawniki men consistently identified the gas chamber operator at different times in different places. Have you read transcripts of these interrogations? Where? What I've read showed inconsistencies in what they said. I have seen no evidence of the KGB wanting to frame one man over another, but that doesnt mean they didn't or that any reasons they may have had would be incomprehensible. There could have been numerous reasons. And what makes a conspiracy between Trawniki ridiculous? They were accomplices in crime. Aliases could have been planned from the start, especially for those involved directly in murder and savagery. The Russians were advancing throughout their time in the death camps and being recaptured by the Soviets would have been daily anxiety for them. They could have planned to identify each other, if some were captured, by code names/mothers maiden names - whatever, and stuck with them through the years. Why not? Or alternatively, they could have referred to workmates they believed to be dead or safe (Marchenko) and not to others. Why is it expected and accepted that they all threw each other under the bus rather than showed loyalty to their countrymen another sought to spare them torture, shame and punishment? The record keeping for Trawniki actually isnt that meticulous. There is documentary evidence placing JD at Trawniki and Sobibor and other places but Sobibor is a small number of kms from Treblinka. How long would he need to have been transferred to Treblinka to make an impression on prisoners there? How long do the survivors say they saw him there?

Why do you keep saying eyewitness identification so many years after the fact is flawed and even useless? And also, that you have this awareness of how unreliable it is but the courts, lawyers and survivors didn't? Why wouldnt the susrviours have considered, well maybe my memory of which man this really is flawed. What would make you more likely to consider that possibility than them? They knew a man's life depended on their remembering correctly. Are they less intelligent? Less logical? They would have MORE motivation for wanting the RIGHT man to be held accountable. People who have been victims always want the right person to pay, and they believed they had him. Why would the court have accepted and believed all the eyewitness testimony from so long ago if it was so useless? JD was found guilty based on it, which was only over turned because of documents the KGB produced.

When the knowledge of the OSI cover up/series of errors became public, did any survivors then retract their testimony and say, well I guess we got it wrong after all? Would they be as capable as you, at understanding the KGB supplied evidence? Yet they still rejected it in favour of what they remembered witnessing with their own eyes, didnt they? Why didnt they say, well all these Trawniki say Ivan the Terrible was Marchenko, so that must be right. Did they have a chance to look at Marchenko's photograph and say whether they recognized him when then 2 existing photos of him were available?

My understanding is that they maintained to their deathbeds, JD was terrible- the one they saw commit atrocities at Treblinka.

A survivor, Chaim Sztajer, for example testified his entire life that JD was Ivan the Terrible, though he wasn't called on to give testimony in the trial. In the latest book on his life an account is given of how he smashed Ivan through the back with a shovel during thr uprising, and during the trial he enquired about a scar that would have been left. And there was such a scar found. He could have looked at the KGB stuff and said well, I was mistaken, but he was thoroughly unconvinced by that evidence.
> Have you read transcripts of these interrogations?

Yes.

> Where?

I have the content from an official OSI CD with interrogations (there are two versions, one for scholars, which I have, with more limited material; and one full database, which I don't have but a friend of mine does; the materials are fully translated); and the scanned Demjanjuk trial materials were (probably still are) also online on an official Israeli site, with all the Russian interrogations available (though unless you can read Russian or Hebrew, it will be of no help). I've read through all the interrogations.

> What I've read showed inconsistencies in what they said

That's too vague a statement. There are almost always inconsistencies in witness testimonies.

> I have seen no evidence of the KGB wanting to frame one man over another, but that doesnt mean they didn't or that any reasons they may have had would be incomprehensible.

So you have no evidence and cannot cite any reasons, what is there to discuss?

> There could have been numerous reasons.

Name 3.

> And what makes a conspiracy between Trawniki ridiculous?

Already explained.

> They were accomplices in crime.

And?

> Aliases could have been planned from the start, especially for those involved directly in murder and savagery.

What aliases? There's no evidence of any aliases.

> They could have planned to identify each other, if some were captured, by code names/mothers maiden names - whatever, and stuck with them through the years.

But that didn't happen since they consistently identified real names. Why are you entertaining completely ridiculous scenarios?

> Why not?

Because that didn't happen.

> Or alternatively, they could have referred to workmates they believed to be dead or safe (Marchenko) and not to others.

But they consistently named long lists of living individuals, nor did they have any reason to think Marchenko was dead or safe. Again, why are you entertaining completely ridiculous scenarios?

> Why is it expected and accepted that they all threw each other under the bus rather than showed loyalty to their countrymen another sought to spare them torture, shame and punishment?

Because they did "throw each other under the bus". Almost each interrogation had a long list of names of other Trawinikis supplied by the accused.

> The record keeping for Trawniki actually isnt that meticulous. There is documentary evidence placing JD at Trawniki and Sobibor and other places but Sobibor is a small number of kms from Treblinka. How long would he need to have been transferred to Treblinka to make an impression on prisoners there? How long do the survivors say they saw him there?

This logic doesn't work due to especially sensitive nature of the extermination camps, so it's not like someone could have been in one such camp long enough to become a notorious GC operator without Treblinka appearing in their card, 200 km between Sobibor and Treblinka is of course not a "few" km, and since we know Marchenko was the GC operator Ivan the Terrible, Demjanjuk couldn't have been him.

> Why do you keep saying eyewitness identification so many years after the fact is flawed and even useless?

Because this fact is relevant?

> And also, that you have this awareness of how unreliable it is but the courts, lawyers and survivors didn't?

Sure.

> Why wouldnt the susrviours have considered, well maybe my memory of which man this really is flawed.

Ask them.

> What would make you more likely to consider that possibility than them?

Because the one having false memories is less likely to consider it false, especially if the person likely doesn't even know about such a phenomenon and how false memories are easily created and witness identifications are trivially influenced. Such a thing was also less clear to the authorities at the time since the studies demonstrating this (such as those by Elizabeth Loftus, who was called to testify in Demjanjuk's defense but refused due to her being Jewish, fearing the backlash; and Willem Wagenaar, who did testify at the trial at the request of Loftus; both were publishing their groundbreaking peer-reviewed research basically parallel to the developments of the Demjanjuk story; both have published on the trial since).

> They knew a man's life depended on their remembering correctly.

Sure.

> Are they less intelligent? Less logical?

Maybe more traumatized.

> They would have MORE motivation for wanting the RIGHT man to be held accountable.

Sure.

> People who have been victims always want the right person to pay, and they believed they had him.

Sure. But none of this changes any facts.

Witnesses testify falsely (wittingly and unwittingly) also in what are effectively capital cases. Same happened to the Pole Frank Walus, where witness upon witness claimed to have seen him personally murdering Jews in camps and ghettos in the occupied Poland in service of the Nazis. He managed to prove his full innocence by providing archival documentary and witness evidence that he was working on a farm in Germany during the whole war, the case not only was dropped, OSI officially expressed "regret" to Walus.

> Why would the court have accepted and believed all the eyewitness testimony from so long ago if it was so useless?

Because the first Israeli court was gullible and biased, unlike the second one.

> JD was found guilty based on it, which was only over turned because of documents the KGB produced.

Actually he wouldn't have been found guilty without the documents the KGB produced (such as his ID card) in the first place. And he wouldn't have been found guilty without such documents in Germany either. Your insistence on diminising the evidence provided by the KGB (which, to repeat, the OSI has always used), which is important for bringing the Nazis and their collaborators to justice, is curious...

> When the knowledge of the OSI cover up/series of errors became public, did any survivors then retract their testimony and say, well I guess we got it wrong after all?

Not to my knowledge.

> Would they be as capable as you, at understanding the KGB supplied evidence?

By that time they were invested in their testimony given in a court that sentenced a man to death, plus they still likely believed their false memories more than the actual evidence (you can't expect them to have been dispassionate about the whole thing), so there would be little incentive for them to speak out.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 15 Nov 2019 06:32

JaneMary wrote:
15 Nov 2019 05:17
Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:19
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:13
What chocked me the most was the false testimony of a jewsih survivor who said to have killed Demaniuk in 1943 uprising...
The same man recognizing Demaniuk 40 years later...
Quite obviously he made an assumption of having killed Ivan in his earlier testimony (literally leaving him "for dead"), and as he convinced himself that Demjanjuk was the Ivan, he also realized that his earlier belief was an assumption. So it's neither here nor there.
It is unfortunate that he testified he had killed Ivan, making his later testimony that Ivan sat before him, less credible, but his earlier error does also make sense.

What makes less sense, to me at least, is forgetting the face of man you saw killing your countrymen, that you then attacked and tried to kill, yourself. It's something one would remember.

I know I can remember the face of a girl who bullied me in school 30 years ago - a much smaller crime. If someone showed me a bunch of strangers and her face, I'd know her face and I also recognize her now. It is incomprehensible that someone could show me the face of someone else and confuse my memory. That doesnt make sense.
No, that's not how memory works. Look up false memory research.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 15 Nov 2019 16:03

Hi Sergey,

Thanks, do you know where I could read transcripts of the interrogations in English?

> There could have been numerous reasons (the the KGB to incriminate the wrong man)

Name 3.

He was found to have committed another crime and they wanted him recaptured to punish him for this crime. They felt he'd be an easier target than the right man. It was reported he knew some secrets. All purely imaginary of course, but within the realm of reasonable possibility and far from incomprehensible.

> nor did they have any reason to think Marchenko was dead or safe

how do you know what they knew of their former workmate?

> Because they did "throw each other under the bus". Almost each interrogation had a long list of names of other Trawinikis supplied by the accused

but many other names were left out. Have you ever had someone's back in a workplace and not someone else's? Isn't that quite normal. Seems plausible to me

> 200 km between Sobibor and Treblinka is of course not a "few" km

a three hour drive. Could have worked there week on/week off or any number of different rosters. I read recently how the written record of Trawniki were not meticulous like other German records kept during the time.

> Your insistence on diminising the evidence provided by the KGB (which, to repeat, the OSI has always used), which is important for bringing the Nazis and their collaborators to justice, is curious...

I don't diminish all evidence provided by the KGB but see good reason for scholarly investigation into whether it was all as reliable as it seemed, especially the testimony of murderers, against their own countrymen, which seemed to change over time, and more testimony from Treblinka survivors contradicting it having come to light since the trial

> By that time they were invested in their testimony given in a court that sentenced a man to death, plus they still likely believed their false memories more than the actual evidence (you can't expect them to have been dispassionate about the whole thing), so there would be little incentive for them to speak out.

There would be great incentive to speak out if they believed they'd made an error. The whole trial has fueled Holocaust denial and does to this day. Survivors generally don't generally want to fuel Holocaust denial. If they realised the OSI had led them astray and their testimony was "false memory" the world wouldn't have held it against them. Eliyahu Rosenberg certainly had the humility to say when he had previously testified erroneously, or misspoke concerning his 1947 claim that he had killed Ivan the Terrible. He could have done so again. Then everything would be as neatly wrapped up as the way you and other historians present it. Case closed. But the case still provokes so much confusion because there are two contradictory sets of evidence. And if there is any possibility that the survivors' claims and memories can be vindicated, they should be. I experienced false memory myself regarding a burglary and the identity of a burglar. Over time, as the trauma settles a person is able to re-evaluate where certain idea came from and how they were formed and see if they jumped to the wrong conclusion, in their trauma. Survivors had time to work through such a process, and maintained they had not.

WIkipedia says "Ivan's true identity has not been conclusively discovered". In light of that, another possibility occurs to me. Ivan was the most popular Ukrainian name and any Ivan who had anything to do with running gas chambers would likely be nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible". I have a friend named Iven who is not terrible at all but people call him Ivan the Terrible. Its kinda predictable when someone is called Ivan/Iven. And any guard running any gas chamber, is likely to have been particularly cruel or aggressive, which is why they would be selected for such a role. It seems well within the realm of possibility that there could have been at least two Ivans, whose notoriety merged. The Treblinka gas chambers are reported to have ran 24 hours a day for days at time, during busy periods. Were there only ever two gas chamber operators? Did they never get sick or take holidays? Other guards took regular, long holidays. Maybe that's when another Ivan filled in. Seems plausible to me.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Gorque » 15 Nov 2019 16:27

Please correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there a height difference of about 5 inches between Marchenko and Demjanjuk?


From an article NY Times, 30-7-93 entitled Israeli Court Sets Demjanjuk Free, With No Place to Go page 8:
The pivotal piece of evidence presented,along with the testimonies of the survivors, was a card, number 1393, from the Trawniki camp. It was first shown to the United States Justice Department about 10 years ago and has a photo that appears to be Mr. Demjanjuk. It correctly lists his date of birth, his father's name, hair color and a scar on his back, the result of a wound received while fighting with the Red Army. The height, however, is off by three inches.

The card does not mention service in Treblinka. It lists instead his presence in Sobibor, another Nazi death camp in Poland where some 250,000 Jews were put to death.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Nov 2019 15:48

A detailed summary, with many quotations, of Willem Wagenaar's book Identifying Ivan. A case study in legal psychology, 1988, Harvard University Press.

p. xi:
"Among this material there are statements by 15 witnesses who saw Ivan for varying periods, and who failed to identify John Demjanjuk, or who positively indicated that he was not Ivan, or who identified him as another person. Although the attempts at identification were made long ago, this material, the existence of which was known to the US prosecution throughout, only became available to the Israeli defense in 1988."
p. 5:
"The question of whether survivors of Nazi death camps can completely forget the faces of their tormentors raises many emotions. But the question is wrong. The issue is not that Ivan's face is completely or substantially forgotten, but that a slight fading of the memory over 35 years has occurred just enough to render possible confusion with another person, who looks very similar."
pp. 5-60 [General discussion of identifications and problems with them, including the points applying to the Demjanjuk case.]
pp. 45-6: [About the costs and benefits of a positive identification and its possible falsity:]
"The benefit of a conviction is large. The subjective cost of the feeling that a criminal has escaped justice might be even larger. The cost of convicting the wrong person is very high according to norms accepted by our society. But it could be estimated as low by witnesses, especially in a case like Demjanjuk's where many people have told me that, even if he is not Ivan, he certainly is a criminal who has something to hide. The justified acquittal of an innocent suspect is again highly valued by our society, but it is not the main concern of a witness for the prosecution. It is abundantly clear from the literature that the outcome of such a cost-benefit analysis is about the most powerful influence on the choice of a decision criterion. In the case of John Demjanjuk there are two reasons why the cost-benefit argument carries much weight. One is that all witnesses were Treblinka survivors. As we will see in the Chapter 4, some of the witnesses declared that their sole motivation to survive was to testify before the world about what happened in Treblinka. No other witnesses who were not victims of the Nazi regime, like for instance the camp guard Otto Horn, testified in the courtroom. The other reason is that the Nazi crimes in Treblinka were of historical proportions; the subjective cost of setting free the murderer of 850,000 people might outweigh the cost of convicting one innocent man."
p. 46:
"Witnesses in the Demjanjuk case were not routinely warned that possibly none of the pictures represented one of their guards. On the contrary, as we will see later, the photospreads often suggested that they consisted of nothing but Nazi criminals. Moreover, four out of the five who testified in court had correctly identified Fedor Fedorenko, another guard from Treblinka, in the same photospread. This could have increased their confidence in the ability of the investigators to come up with the guilty people."
p. 47: [Explanation that in the usual cases with photospreads containing one suspect and the rest being innocent foils, there's a risk for the witness of naming an innocent person.]
"In the Demjanuk case there was another reason why the risk of being caught out was small, or was gauged to be small. This reason was that all people in the lineup were suspected of Nazi crimes. Demjanjuk was first suspected of being a guard in the death camp Sobibor. When Eugen Turowski and Abraham Goldfarb, the first Treblinka survivors who identified Demjanjuk as Ivam, made their identification, this response could have been classified as an error. But the opposite happened. The charge against Demjanjuk was adapted to the identification, which could be done because he was not an innocent foil. The witnesses could have been aware of the fact that a positive response would always lead to a prosecution, and that therefore the risk of being caught making a false identification was zero."
pp. 47-8:
"The decision criterion is also affected by a strong belief that victims will always remember their torturers. Many victims declare in the courtroom that they see the face of the criminal in their dreams, and that they will never forget this face. After making such a statement it will be difficult for a witness to be hesitant in an identification test. The belief that one will never forget is almost a commitment to a clearcut response. In case of a doubtful recognition one may tend to respond with more confidence than is warranted by the actual resemblance." [quoting such a statement from a witness] "It is quite possible that Epstein is right, that he has a durable image of Ivan in his memory, and that therefore his identification was correct. But such statements can also mean that witnesses deny the possibility of a mistake, and that for this reason they have shifted their response criterion to the left."
p. 48:
"The fifth influence on the location of the decision criterion is the knowledge that other witnesses made a positive identification before, since this provides another reason for believing that the perpetrator is in the lineup."
p. 49: [After explaning the numerous ways the above influences the identification:]
"Many of these elements were present in the Demjanjuk case, as we will see in later chapters. The witnesses knew each other very well in most instances, and it is unlikely that they did not meet between the interviews.
p. 55:
"When witnesses are, in the course of investigative procedures, confronted with the suspect or a picture of the suspect, they may identify the same person in a subsequent lineup for that reason alone. [...] We will see that most witnesses in the Demjanjuk case were exposed to two photospreads that had only a representation of Demjanuk in common."
pp. 56-7:
"A strong form of suggestion is specifically asking questions about one participants, or one picture, such as "Don't you recognize number five?" The result of such a direct question is that the effective lineup size is immediately reduced to one. As said before, such errors will rarely become evident, because confrontations are not recorded on tape or in verbatim protocols, while errors will tend to be omitted from later statements. But we will see that similar direct suggestive questions were asked and reported by the Demjanjuk investigators."
pp. 58-9:
"The recognition of Demjanjuk's picture was not always immediate. On the contrary, some subjects needed a long time, which provided them sufficient opportunity to reconstruct their memories unconsciously. At the same time quite a few of the witnesses expressed less than 100 percent confidence. Five witnesses made identifications in the courtroom with great confidence ten years after their first identifications. It cannot be expected that witnesses would be able to distinguish between their original memories and the reconstructions thereof, made ten years ago."
pp. 61-94: [50 rules for the conduct and interpretation of identity tests.]
spread1.jpg
pp. 100-3: [About the crucial day in 1976 when the first identification of Demjanjuk as Ivan was made:]
"It should be realized that, while Turowski was inspecting picture 17 [Fedorenko], Demjanjuk's picture was adjacent to it all the time. Turowski did not refer to it with one word on May 9. Or rather the written statement [by an Israeli police investigator] does not mention such a reference.
At 1.00 p.m. Goldfarb was questioned by Mrs. Radiwker, also on Fedorenko. He declared:
"I do not remember an Ukrainian by the name of Fedorenko, that is, I do not remember the name Fedorenko. I was shown 17 photos of Ukrainians pasted on three brown cardboard pages. The man on picture No. 16 seems familiar to me. When asked about it: I cannot identify the man on picture No. 17, which should be a representation of Fedorenko."
Thus, at one o'clock in the afternoon Goldfarb seemed to recognize Demjanjuk. This was the first time a relation between Demjanjuk and Treblinka was suggested, although Goldfarb did not mention the name Ivan. Golfarb was heard again on the same day, at 2.30 p.m. His second statement starts with:
"To the subject of investigations against the Ukrainian Nazi criminal Demjanjuk, Ivan, Mr. Abraham Goldfarb was given a hearing today."
[The details are then discussed, and Goldfarb's statement in which he now is more certain, is quoted.]
The reference to Sobibor is revealing. Again the statement does not contain Mrs. Radiwker's question, but apparently she told Goldfarb that he made a mistake, because her files related Demjanjuk to Sobibor, not to Treblinka. But now Goldfarb is certain that No. 16 depicts Ivan; much more certain than he was at 1.00 p.m., when he said: "Seems familiar to me". Why was he so certain now? Had he forgotten the name of Ivan, and did the prompting by Mrs. Radiwker cue him into memories that were not released before by looking at Demjanjuk's picture? Or did he recognize the picture because he had looked at it an hour ago? We will never know exactly what happened, because Goldfarb died in 1984, while Mrs. Radiwker remained very vague in her later explanations."
[Turowski's statement on the next day is quoted in which he now claims certainty about Ivan and even his surname.]
"[Turowski:] "[...]Him I recognize immediately and with full assurance.[...]"
[...]
This statement obviously creates a puzzle. The previous day Turowski saw the album page with photos No. 16 and 17 next to each other. He recognized No. 17, but failed to mention Ivan on No. 16. The following day, after Mrs. Radiwker mentioned the name Ivan, he recognized Ivan immediately and with full assurance. "
[Radiwker's later claims that Turowski actually immediately recognized Ivan on the previous day are discussed and dismissed as not credible due to her own protocols, including the statement by Turowski on May 9, personally written down by her, that he could only recognize one Ukrainian on the spread, Fedorenko.
The probability of Goldfarb telling Turowski about the surprising identification is discussed.]
pp. 103-4:
"Another riddle in Turowski's second statement is that he claimed to know the name Demjanjuk. None of the other witnesses knew Ivan's last name. The connection between John Demjanjuk and Ivan the Terrible is through the recognition by eyewitnesses, not through the correspondence of last names. The statement is even more surprising in view of the fact that Turowski had already said that he remembered no other name than Fedorenko. Mrs. Radiwker had clearly mentioned the name Demjanjuk before Turowski claimed to recognize it, hence the recall was not at all spontaneous. Still it would be essential to the case for one witness to testify that Ivan's last name was really Demjanjuk. But how could Turowski have known this name? Mrs. Radiwker was asked about this. She answered: "It did not interest me." Obviously she missed the vital point: that Turowski's ready agreement that he knew the name mentioned to him, although in fact he probably did not know it, might signify that he was sensitive to suggestions made by the investigator."
p. 104: [Rosenberg's May 11 statement is discussed. Rosenberg:]
"I see a great resemblance to the Ukrainian Ivan, who was active in the camp 2 [...] I decline, however, to identify him with absolute certainty. [...]"
pp. 105-6: [Rosenberg's 1947 statement that some people killed Ivan with shovels is discussed. Rosenberg explained in court that it was hearsay.]
"However, in January 1988 a handwritten statement by Rosenberg dated 1945 was discovered in a Warsaw archive. This statement referred to the death of Ivan as something witnessed by Rosenberg himself. Confronted with this statement Rosenberg declared: "It was a dream, a strong desire, I wanted it to be true. Now I know that Ivan is still alive."
[Further irregularities surrounding Rosenberg's statements are discussed, such as the absence of identification of Ivan from the photospread with Fedorenko and Demjanjuk. Rosenberg later claimed that he allegedly identified Ivan and this was omitted by the Israeli investigators from the protocol. Later he contradicted this account again. The details further diminish the credibility of his identification and of the id procedures used by the Israeli investigators in this case.]
p. 108:
"Rosenberg's entire testimony is thrown into question. The problem with it has less to do with Rosenberg's memory and more with the inconsistencies in the written testimonies. The attempt to reconcile the contradiction through oral testimony about what really happened during the identification had failed dismally. The additional statements by Rosenberg, Kolar, and Mrs. Radiwker only added contradictions, suggesting that the witnesses might have been subtly coached in an unacceptable manner."
pp. 108-9: [Negative statements of Teigman and Kudlik are discussed; they did not recognize Ivan and Radiwker's protocols showed her trying to coach the witness Kudlik.]
"Simon Greenspan identified Fedorenko on July 4, 1976, but failed to identify Demjanjuk. This is not unimportant, because the identification of Fedorenko proves that Greenspan was there, and was able to remember faces. Ivan made himself much more conspicuous than Fedorenko; how could Greenspan recognize one but not the other?"
[...]
[It is pointed out that the first additional identifications only appear from Sept. 1976 onwards, which is significant, since every year some of the survivors met in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2, the day of the uprising. The additional witnesses who identified Demjanjuk lived in Israel.]
pp. 110-3: [Next witness to identify D., with absolute certainty, was Czarny; who, however, failed to identify him during the Fedorenko investigations according to the protocols. Further:
"[...] Czarny declared in the Fedorenko trial three times that he recognized only Fedorenko, no other person."
[The next witness was Schlomo Helman, who stayed in Treblinka longer than any other survivor and assisted in building the gas chambers, and worked alongside Ivan for many months. Significantly, he was shown only 5 photos instead of all 17.]
"The name of Demjanjuk presented to me does not mean anything to me. [...] The witness cannot identify Ivan Demjanjuk. He points only at the picture No. 17 (the photograph of Fedorenko) and declares: "This man I have seen in Treblinka. [...]'
p. 114-6 [The next witness was Boraks, who was shown 8 photos instead of 17 and claimed to identify Ivan with absolute certainty. In Jerusalem his memory failed him completely.
Next positive witness was Lindwasser. Then there was a long and unexplained pause, the witness Epstein claimed to identify Demjanjuk in 1978 - but after such time passage he almost certainly discussed the case with the other survivors. He confirmed meeting with them, esp. Rosenberg, who was his friend.]
p. 118: [The discussion of the Trawniki card photo used for identification begins.]
"The Trawniki spread consisted of eight pictures, the picture from the Trawniki document and seven other people suspected of Nazi crimes. It is not clear on what basis the foils were selected. The photographs were of a better quality, and better standardized than the album spread. The faces were of about the same size. There were also some obvious differences: the eight people wore different uniforms, some with insignia Ivan could have never worn; two of the people were looking straight into the camera, including the man from the Trawniki document. Demjanuk is the only blond person in the set, see Figure 4.2."
[Epstein identified Ivan in the spread, but also putatively identified Nikolay, another GC operator, using the same words he used for Demjanjuk in a previous identification process; this identification was false.]
spread2.jpg
pp. 120-3:
"Rosenberg pointed also at two other people, but his signature was only put on the back of the Trawniki picture, which contained Epstein's signature already. This means that by now Rosenberg knew that Epstein had picked the same picture."
[Next positive witness, Rajchman, was only questioned in 1980. And puzzlingly, the report of his interrogation was only written 7 years later.]
"One riddle in Fusi's report is that it states clearly that the interview was conducted in the English language, without an interpreter. This is impossible, as Rajchman does not speak or understand English. His languages are Yiddish and Spanish, not even Hebrew. If Fusi does not remember the interpreter, how can we be assured that all other details are reported correctly?"
[Fusi first showed Rajchmann photospread with the 1951 picture, which he allegedly recognized. And then the Trawniki card picture.]
"[...] Rajchman did not recognize the Trawniki portrait. The same spread was shown to him during the Cleveland trial in 1981. Now he recognized the Trawniki picture. In the 1987 Jerusalem testimony he said about this:"
"A. There I recognized a picture that was even more similar than the other one, because in court they showed me a picture which was just the right weight, even more similar to the way he looks in Treblinka.[...]"
[When confronted with the contradiction, his reply was:]
"I can't say. One thing I can say which is that the lawyer is not speaking the truth when he says that I talked English. [...]"
p. 124:
"Five witnesses testified for the prosecution in 1987 in the Jerusalem court: Rosenberg, Czarny, Boraks, Epstein, and Rajchman. Turowski, Goldfarb, and Lindwasser had died before that time, and Levkowitch withdrew her testimony".
[The 5 witnesses identified D. in court with absolute certainty. Their identifications, however, cannot be considered serious evidence, as the following table shows:]
table.jpg
pp. 126ff.: [Neither the Mrs. Radiwker, nor the Judge Levine had any training in the identification and accepted extremely leading methods as normal. The investigator Kolar had some experience, but even he did not know all the official rules in Israel for such procedures. A discussion of how the previously mentioned rules for identifications were broken begins. Some points have already been mentioned above. A mock identification procedure conducted as an experiment is described:]
p. 132:
"I followed this procedure with 25 mock witnesses. They were given the following instruction: "We are looking for a man with a full round face, a short wide neck, a bald pate starting. We will give you a set of eight photographs; please point to the person who is most likely to be the wanted person." [...] All 25 mock witnesses pointed to picture No. 16 of John Demjanjuk, without any exception."
pp. 133-5:
"A closer inspection of page three of the album spread makes it abundantly clear why it was so easy to guess that Demjanjuk is the suspect. The foils were not chosen on the basis of descriptions produced prior to the identifications. In fact there was no attempt to get such descriptions. The memories of the witnesses were tested through the photographs, not through interrogation. The result is that none of the foils bore any resemblance to Demjanjuk. His portrait was the only one that could be described as round face, short neck, balding. Some of the faces were notably non-round, non-balding. Demjanjuk's face on the picture was much larger than any other face. Two of the others were logically excluded: Fedorenko because he had been identified previously by most witnesses and could have been familiar to all witnesses; Rychalsky because in some tests his name was on his picture."
[A fair lineup resulted only in two mock witnesses out of 25 pointing to Demjanjuk. In an independent experiment 58 students were asked to point to the "most guilty looking" person on the spreads, about 30% then pointed to Demjanjuk in both real spreads. With a correctly made lineup only two out of 25 mock witnesses pointed out Demjanjuk as the "most guilty looking" person.
The rule against showing different spreads with the same individual was broken too. This biased the identification, as a couple of experiments have shown.]
pp. 136ff.: [The recording and reporting by the investigators was neither complete, nor fully correct, despite their insistence that they were accurate.]
p. 140: [The crucial negative results were not systematically gathered.]
p. 142: [Suggestive and arbitrary methods used by the investigators.]
p. 143: [Despite later confidence, the first results were not conclusive.]
"Recognition of a suspect can only be accepted as legal evidence if it is immediate. Therefore we need report about the first interrogations, not about recognitions that occurred later. Mrs. Radiwker did not report the first recognitions by Goldfarb, Turowski, and Czarny. Of the others, Rosenberg was not certain: "I see a great resemblance; I decline to identify with certainty". Epstein was also not certain: "This picture reminds me strongly of Ivan". Rajchman needed half an hour, and was only "fairly certain". The only immediate and certain first identifications were by Boraks, Lindwasser, and Levkovitch. At the Jerusalem trial Boraks was too old to produce a meaningful testimony; Lindwasser was dead; the testimony by Levkowitch was withdrawn. It is not unfair to conclude that out of some 30 witnesses only three were reported to be certain. These three made their identifications more than four months after the testing of Turowski, Goldfarb, and Rosenberg. They could have talked to the others at the yearly memorial meeting, but they could not be interviewed about this in court."
p. 144:
"The fact that so many witnesses failed to make any identification creates a serious doubt about the identity of John Demjanjuk. In principle there are two possibilities: either those who did not identify him did not perceive or remember Ivan accurately; or those who did identify him all made the same mistake. What is the probability of these two cases? The first possibility is in fact not at all likely; we know from the case of Marinus De Rijke that even concentration camp survivors forget, and 40 years is a long time. But the second possibility should be a major source of concern to the court, because the investigations were conducted in such a suggestive manner that the same mistake could easily have occurred in one third of the witnesses. The photographic parades were actually showups, not lineups. The investigators could have exerted all sorts of suggestion. The identifications were separated by considerable time periods, in which the witnesses could have talked to each other. From experiences with other cases we know that these are exactly the conditions in which confirmation by successive witnesses should not be accepted as corroboration."
p. 145: [Out of 46 rules applicable to the Demjanjuk case 37 were "directly or indirectly violated by the investigating authorities". A table of all violations is presented.]
"[...] the procedures used for the identification of Ivan are notoriously invalid."
pp. 147ff.: [Ethical aspects of expert testimony are discussed.]
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Nov 2019 15:53

Thus a close analysis shows how the false identification testimonies appeared. Many of the witnesses who would later claim absolute certainty were not certain at first or did not recognize D. at all at first, which means they simply convinced themselves over time. The positive witnesses were few and had every opportunity to meet and thus influence each other. There were more negative identifications than there were positive ones. The identification procedures were irredeemably flawed.
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Nov 2019 16:20

> Thanks, do you know where I could read transcripts of the interrogations in English?

Not online, but they were probably attached to the 2002 extradition case, so you could try finding them there.

> He was found to have committed another crime and they wanted him recaptured to punish him for this crime.

All the Trawnikis committed crimes by the nature of them becoming the Trawnikis, so there was no reason for this. His traces were lost, so he could have hardly been found to have committed another crime. And he would have been wanted for this crime, not for an imaginary one. The solution (a huge, decades-spanning conspiracy to frame one man for the crimes of another, for which no evidence exists to boot) is not proportional to the reason, so the reason is absolutely implausible.

> They felt he'd be an easier target than the right man.

How is that a reason, especially as they were officially searching for Demjanjuk?

> It was reported he knew some secrets.

And? How is that a reason?

> All purely imaginary of course, but within the realm of reasonable possibility and far from incomprehensible.

No, not at all. So in the end you haven't named a single rational, minimally plausible reason proportional to the claim of a huge, decades-spanning conspiracy to frame one man for the crimes of another, for which no evidence exists to boot.

Have you ever heard of Occam's razor?

> how do you know what they knew of their former workmate?

None of them reported anything to the contrary, and the suggestion that all of them, throughout decades, at different places, with different investigators, despite their own sorry predicament had Demjanjuk's safety in mind and consistently named Marchenko instead of him is so absolutely implausible that it is straight ridiculous. Moreover, it is explicitly untrue that all of them had an incomprehensible affinity towards Demjanjuk (a ridiculous thesis by itself), since several Trawniki named Demjanjuk, like Ignat Danilchenko, who accused him of crimes like driving the Jews to the gas chambers of Sobibor (though of course not operating them; his testimony was used during the German trial).

> but many other names were left out. Have you ever had someone's back in a workplace and not someone else's? Isn't that quite normal. Seems plausible to me

There's no reason to think names were left out for any reason but not remembering. The suggestion that all of them, throughout decades, at different places, with different investigators, despite their own sorry predicament had Demjanjuk's safety in mind and consistently named Marchenko instead of him is so absolutely implausible that it is straight ridiculous. Moreover, it is explicitly untrue that all of them had an incomprehensible affinity towards Demjanjuk (a ridiculous thesis by itself), since several Trawniki named Demjanjuk, like Ignat Danilchenko, who accused him of crimes like driving the Jews to the gas chambers of Sobibor (though of course not operating them; his testimony was used during the German trial).

> a three hour drive. Could have worked there week on/week off or any number of different rosters.

There's no evidence that anything like this happened, and it is prima facie contrary to common sense that anything like this procedure, without any comprehensible reason, took place. And in any case a notorious gas chamber operator who had been in Treblinka for at least one year, be that on weekends or not - but enough to become notorious among the inmates - would have necessarily had Treblinka in his id card.

> I don't diminish all evidence provided by the KGB but see good reason for scholarly investigation into whether it was all as reliable as it seemed, especially the testimony of murderers, against their own countrymen, which seemed to change over time, and more testimony from Treblinka survivors contradicting it having come to light since the trial

As has already been explained to you, the Treblinka survivors' identifications are useless, for the reasons repeated above, and it is many of those identification statements that actually changed with time.

> There would be great incentive to speak out if they believed they'd made an error.

Au contraire, as already explained, there would be an incentive not to speak out, but there's no reason to think that they did not continue to believe in their false memories.

> Eliyahu Rosenberg certainly had the humility to say when he had previously testified erroneously, or misspoke concerning his 1947 claim that he had killed Ivan the Terrible.

This has zero to do with humility since it was a necessity for him to maintain his new stance on Ivan the Terrible.

> Case closed.

It is.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Nov 2019 16:26

Gorque wrote:
15 Nov 2019 16:27
Please correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there a height difference of about 5 inches between Marchenko and Demjanjuk?


From an article NY Times, 30-7-93 entitled Israeli Court Sets Demjanjuk Free, With No Place to Go page 8:
The pivotal piece of evidence presented,along with the testimonies of the survivors, was a card, number 1393, from the Trawniki camp. It was first shown to the United States Justice Department about 10 years ago and has a photo that appears to be Mr. Demjanjuk. It correctly lists his date of birth, his father's name, hair color and a scar on his back, the result of a wound received while fighting with the Red Army. The height, however, is off by three inches.

The card does not mention service in Treblinka. It lists instead his presence in Sobibor, another Nazi death camp in Poland where some 250,000 Jews were put to death.
You are reading it wrong, the card presents the incorrect height for Demjanjuk.

http://web.archive.org/web/201703040440 ... f_fact.pdf

"Although Service Identity Pass No. 1393 (GX 3) indicates
that Iwan Demjanjuk's height was 175 cm and postwar documents
attribute various heights to Defendant, the discrepancies are not
significant and can be attributed either to errors in measurement,
recording, or self-reporting. "

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 17 Nov 2019 01:53

Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:26
That's a meaningless statement.
The sense of his testimony is that you cant rely on it.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 17 Nov 2019 09:43

DavidFrankenberg wrote:
17 Nov 2019 01:53
Sergey Romanov wrote:
14 Nov 2019 19:26
That's a meaningless statement.
The sense of his testimony is that you cant rely on it.
Incorrect, like with most testimonies, you rely on some parts and you don't rely on other parts. Unless the whole is beyond salvaging, but that's not the case here. The witness identifications can be thrown away, but the historical parts remain, quite obviously.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 18 Nov 2019 04:03

Sergey Romanov wrote:
16 Nov 2019 15:48
A detailed summary, with many quotations, of Willem Wagenaar's book Identifying Ivan. A case study in legal psychology, 1988, Harvard University Press.

p. xi:
"Among this material there are statements by 15 witnesses who saw Ivan for varying periods, and who failed to identify John Demjanjuk, or who positively indicated that he was not Ivan, or who identified him as another person. Although the attempts at identification were made long ago, this material, the existence of which was known to the US prosecution throughout, only became available to the Israeli defense in 1988."
p. 5:
"The question of whether survivors of Nazi death camps can completely forget the faces of their tormentors raises many emotions. But the question is wrong. The issue is not that Ivan's face is completely or substantially forgotten, but that a slight fading of the memory over 35 years has occurred just enough to render possible confusion with another person, who looks very similar."
pp. 5-60 [General discussion of identifications and problems with them, including the points applying to the Demjanjuk case.]
pp. 45-6: [About the costs and benefits of a positive identification and its possible falsity:]
"The benefit of a conviction is large. The subjective cost of the feeling that a criminal has escaped justice might be even larger. The cost of convicting the wrong person is very high according to norms accepted by our society. But it could be estimated as low by witnesses, especially in a case like Demjanjuk's where many people have told me that, even if he is not Ivan, he certainly is a criminal who has something to hide. The justified acquittal of an innocent suspect is again highly valued by our society, but it is not the main concern of a witness for the prosecution. It is abundantly clear from the literature that the outcome of such a cost-benefit analysis is about the most powerful influence on the choice of a decision criterion. In the case of John Demjanjuk there are two reasons why the cost-benefit argument carries much weight. One is that all witnesses were Treblinka survivors. As we will see in the Chapter 4, some of the witnesses declared that their sole motivation to survive was to testify before the world about what happened in Treblinka. No other witnesses who were not victims of the Nazi regime, like for instance the camp guard Otto Horn, testified in the courtroom. The other reason is that the Nazi crimes in Treblinka were of historical proportions; the subjective cost of setting free the murderer of 850,000 people might outweigh the cost of convicting one innocent man."
p. 46:
"Witnesses in the Demjanjuk case were not routinely warned that possibly none of the pictures represented one of their guards. On the contrary, as we will see later, the photospreads often suggested that they consisted of nothing but Nazi criminals. Moreover, four out of the five who testified in court had correctly identified Fedor Fedorenko, another guard from Treblinka, in the same photospread. This could have increased their confidence in the ability of the investigators to come up with the guilty people."
p. 47: [Explanation that in the usual cases with photospreads containing one suspect and the rest being innocent foils, there's a risk for the witness of naming an innocent person.]
"In the Demjanuk case there was another reason why the risk of being caught out was small, or was gauged to be small. This reason was that all people in the lineup were suspected of Nazi crimes. Demjanjuk was first suspected of being a guard in the death camp Sobibor. When Eugen Turowski and Abraham Goldfarb, the first Treblinka survivors who identified Demjanjuk as Ivam, made their identification, this response could have been classified as an error. But the opposite happened. The charge against Demjanjuk was adapted to the identification, which could be done because he was not an innocent foil. The witnesses could have been aware of the fact that a positive response would always lead to a prosecution, and that therefore the risk of being caught making a false identification was zero."
pp. 47-8:
"The decision criterion is also affected by a strong belief that victims will always remember their torturers. Many victims declare in the courtroom that they see the face of the criminal in their dreams, and that they will never forget this face. After making such a statement it will be difficult for a witness to be hesitant in an identification test. The belief that one will never forget is almost a commitment to a clearcut response. In case of a doubtful recognition one may tend to respond with more confidence than is warranted by the actual resemblance." [quoting such a statement from a witness] "It is quite possible that Epstein is right, that he has a durable image of Ivan in his memory, and that therefore his identification was correct. But such statements can also mean that witnesses deny the possibility of a mistake, and that for this reason they have shifted their response criterion to the left."
p. 48:
"The fifth influence on the location of the decision criterion is the knowledge that other witnesses made a positive identification before, since this provides another reason for believing that the perpetrator is in the lineup."
p. 49: [After explaning the numerous ways the above influences the identification:]
"Many of these elements were present in the Demjanjuk case, as we will see in later chapters. The witnesses knew each other very well in most instances, and it is unlikely that they did not meet between the interviews.
p. 55:
"When witnesses are, in the course of investigative procedures, confronted with the suspect or a picture of the suspect, they may identify the same person in a subsequent lineup for that reason alone. [...] We will see that most witnesses in the Demjanjuk case were exposed to two photospreads that had only a representation of Demjanuk in common."
pp. 56-7:
"A strong form of suggestion is specifically asking questions about one participants, or one picture, such as "Don't you recognize number five?" The result of such a direct question is that the effective lineup size is immediately reduced to one. As said before, such errors will rarely become evident, because confrontations are not recorded on tape or in verbatim protocols, while errors will tend to be omitted from later statements. But we will see that similar direct suggestive questions were asked and reported by the Demjanjuk investigators."
pp. 58-9:
"The recognition of Demjanjuk's picture was not always immediate. On the contrary, some subjects needed a long time, which provided them sufficient opportunity to reconstruct their memories unconsciously. At the same time quite a few of the witnesses expressed less than 100 percent confidence. Five witnesses made identifications in the courtroom with great confidence ten years after their first identifications. It cannot be expected that witnesses would be able to distinguish between their original memories and the reconstructions thereof, made ten years ago."
pp. 61-94: [50 rules for the conduct and interpretation of identity tests.]
spread1.jpg
pp. 100-3: [About the crucial day in 1976 when the first identification of Demjanjuk as Ivan was made:]
"It should be realized that, while Turowski was inspecting picture 17 [Fedorenko], Demjanjuk's picture was adjacent to it all the time. Turowski did not refer to it with one word on May 9. Or rather the written statement [by an Israeli police investigator] does not mention such a reference.
At 1.00 p.m. Goldfarb was questioned by Mrs. Radiwker, also on Fedorenko. He declared:
"I do not remember an Ukrainian by the name of Fedorenko, that is, I do not remember the name Fedorenko. I was shown 17 photos of Ukrainians pasted on three brown cardboard pages. The man on picture No. 16 seems familiar to me. When asked about it: I cannot identify the man on picture No. 17, which should be a representation of Fedorenko."
Thus, at one o'clock in the afternoon Goldfarb seemed to recognize Demjanjuk. This was the first time a relation between Demjanjuk and Treblinka was suggested, although Goldfarb did not mention the name Ivan. Golfarb was heard again on the same day, at 2.30 p.m. His second statement starts with:
"To the subject of investigations against the Ukrainian Nazi criminal Demjanjuk, Ivan, Mr. Abraham Goldfarb was given a hearing today."
[The details are then discussed, and Goldfarb's statement in which he now is more certain, is quoted.]
The reference to Sobibor is revealing. Again the statement does not contain Mrs. Radiwker's question, but apparently she told Goldfarb that he made a mistake, because her files related Demjanjuk to Sobibor, not to Treblinka. But now Goldfarb is certain that No. 16 depicts Ivan; much more certain than he was at 1.00 p.m., when he said: "Seems familiar to me". Why was he so certain now? Had he forgotten the name of Ivan, and did the prompting by Mrs. Radiwker cue him into memories that were not released before by looking at Demjanjuk's picture? Or did he recognize the picture because he had looked at it an hour ago? We will never know exactly what happened, because Goldfarb died in 1984, while Mrs. Radiwker remained very vague in her later explanations."
[Turowski's statement on the next day is quoted in which he now claims certainty about Ivan and even his surname.]
"[Turowski:] "[...]Him I recognize immediately and with full assurance.[...]"
[...]
This statement obviously creates a puzzle. The previous day Turowski saw the album page with photos No. 16 and 17 next to each other. He recognized No. 17, but failed to mention Ivan on No. 16. The following day, after Mrs. Radiwker mentioned the name Ivan, he recognized Ivan immediately and with full assurance. "
[Radiwker's later claims that Turowski actually immediately recognized Ivan on the previous day are discussed and dismissed as not credible due to her own protocols, including the statement by Turowski on May 9, personally written down by her, that he could only recognize one Ukrainian on the spread, Fedorenko.
The probability of Goldfarb telling Turowski about the surprising identification is discussed.]
pp. 103-4:
"Another riddle in Turowski's second statement is that he claimed to know the name Demjanjuk. None of the other witnesses knew Ivan's last name. The connection between John Demjanjuk and Ivan the Terrible is through the recognition by eyewitnesses, not through the correspondence of last names. The statement is even more surprising in view of the fact that Turowski had already said that he remembered no other name than Fedorenko. Mrs. Radiwker had clearly mentioned the name Demjanjuk before Turowski claimed to recognize it, hence the recall was not at all spontaneous. Still it would be essential to the case for one witness to testify that Ivan's last name was really Demjanjuk. But how could Turowski have known this name? Mrs. Radiwker was asked about this. She answered: "It did not interest me." Obviously she missed the vital point: that Turowski's ready agreement that he knew the name mentioned to him, although in fact he probably did not know it, might signify that he was sensitive to suggestions made by the investigator."
p. 104: [Rosenberg's May 11 statement is discussed. Rosenberg:]
"I see a great resemblance to the Ukrainian Ivan, who was active in the camp 2 [...] I decline, however, to identify him with absolute certainty. [...]"
pp. 105-6: [Rosenberg's 1947 statement that some people killed Ivan with shovels is discussed. Rosenberg explained in court that it was hearsay.]
"However, in January 1988 a handwritten statement by Rosenberg dated 1945 was discovered in a Warsaw archive. This statement referred to the death of Ivan as something witnessed by Rosenberg himself. Confronted with this statement Rosenberg declared: "It was a dream, a strong desire, I wanted it to be true. Now I know that Ivan is still alive."
[Further irregularities surrounding Rosenberg's statements are discussed, such as the absence of identification of Ivan from the photospread with Fedorenko and Demjanjuk. Rosenberg later claimed that he allegedly identified Ivan and this was omitted by the Israeli investigators from the protocol. Later he contradicted this account again. The details further diminish the credibility of his identification and of the id procedures used by the Israeli investigators in this case.]
p. 108:
"Rosenberg's entire testimony is thrown into question. The problem with it has less to do with Rosenberg's memory and more with the inconsistencies in the written testimonies. The attempt to reconcile the contradiction through oral testimony about what really happened during the identification had failed dismally. The additional statements by Rosenberg, Kolar, and Mrs. Radiwker only added contradictions, suggesting that the witnesses might have been subtly coached in an unacceptable manner."
pp. 108-9: [Negative statements of Teigman and Kudlik are discussed; they did not recognize Ivan and Radiwker's protocols showed her trying to coach the witness Kudlik.]
"Simon Greenspan identified Fedorenko on July 4, 1976, but failed to identify Demjanjuk. This is not unimportant, because the identification of Fedorenko proves that Greenspan was there, and was able to remember faces. Ivan made himself much more conspicuous than Fedorenko; how could Greenspan recognize one but not the other?"
[...]
[It is pointed out that the first additional identifications only appear from Sept. 1976 onwards, which is significant, since every year some of the survivors met in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2, the day of the uprising. The additional witnesses who identified Demjanjuk lived in Israel.]
pp. 110-3: [Next witness to identify D., with absolute certainty, was Czarny; who, however, failed to identify him during the Fedorenko investigations according to the protocols. Further:
"[...] Czarny declared in the Fedorenko trial three times that he recognized only Fedorenko, no other person."
[The next witness was Schlomo Helman, who stayed in Treblinka longer than any other survivor and assisted in building the gas chambers, and worked alongside Ivan for many months. Significantly, he was shown only 5 photos instead of all 17.]
"The name of Demjanjuk presented to me does not mean anything to me. [...] The witness cannot identify Ivan Demjanjuk. He points only at the picture No. 17 (the photograph of Fedorenko) and declares: "This man I have seen in Treblinka. [...]'
p. 114-6 [The next witness was Boraks, who was shown 8 photos instead of 17 and claimed to identify Ivan with absolute certainty. In Jerusalem his memory failed him completely.
Next positive witness was Lindwasser. Then there was a long and unexplained pause, the witness Epstein claimed to identify Demjanjuk in 1978 - but after such time passage he almost certainly discussed the case with the other survivors. He confirmed meeting with them, esp. Rosenberg, who was his friend.]
p. 118: [The discussion of the Trawniki card photo used for identification begins.]
"The Trawniki spread consisted of eight pictures, the picture from the Trawniki document and seven other people suspected of Nazi crimes. It is not clear on what basis the foils were selected. The photographs were of a better quality, and better standardized than the album spread. The faces were of about the same size. There were also some obvious differences: the eight people wore different uniforms, some with insignia Ivan could have never worn; two of the people were looking straight into the camera, including the man from the Trawniki document. Demjanuk is the only blond person in the set, see Figure 4.2."
[Epstein identified Ivan in the spread, but also putatively identified Nikolay, another GC operator, using the same words he used for Demjanjuk in a previous identification process; this identification was false.]
spread2.jpg
pp. 120-3:
"Rosenberg pointed also at two other people, but his signature was only put on the back of the Trawniki picture, which contained Epstein's signature already. This means that by now Rosenberg knew that Epstein had picked the same picture."
[Next positive witness, Rajchman, was only questioned in 1980. And puzzlingly, the report of his interrogation was only written 7 years later.]
"One riddle in Fusi's report is that it states clearly that the interview was conducted in the English language, without an interpreter. This is impossible, as Rajchman does not speak or understand English. His languages are Yiddish and Spanish, not even Hebrew. If Fusi does not remember the interpreter, how can we be assured that all other details are reported correctly?"
[Fusi first showed Rajchmann photospread with the 1951 picture, which he allegedly recognized. And then the Trawniki card picture.]
"[...] Rajchman did not recognize the Trawniki portrait. The same spread was shown to him during the Cleveland trial in 1981. Now he recognized the Trawniki picture. In the 1987 Jerusalem testimony he said about this:"
"A. There I recognized a picture that was even more similar than the other one, because in court they showed me a picture which was just the right weight, even more similar to the way he looks in Treblinka.[...]"
[When confronted with the contradiction, his reply was:]
"I can't say. One thing I can say which is that the lawyer is not speaking the truth when he says that I talked English. [...]"
p. 124:
"Five witnesses testified for the prosecution in 1987 in the Jerusalem court: Rosenberg, Czarny, Boraks, Epstein, and Rajchman. Turowski, Goldfarb, and Lindwasser had died before that time, and Levkowitch withdrew her testimony".
[The 5 witnesses identified D. in court with absolute certainty. Their identifications, however, cannot be considered serious evidence, as the following table shows:]
table.jpg
pp. 126ff.: [Neither the Mrs. Radiwker, nor the Judge Levine had any training in the identification and accepted extremely leading methods as normal. The investigator Kolar had some experience, but even he did not know all the official rules in Israel for such procedures. A discussion of how the previously mentioned rules for identifications were broken begins. Some points have already been mentioned above. A mock identification procedure conducted as an experiment is described:]
p. 132:
"I followed this procedure with 25 mock witnesses. They were given the following instruction: "We are looking for a man with a full round face, a short wide neck, a bald pate starting. We will give you a set of eight photographs; please point to the person who is most likely to be the wanted person." [...] All 25 mock witnesses pointed to picture No. 16 of John Demjanjuk, without any exception."
pp. 133-5:
"A closer inspection of page three of the album spread makes it abundantly clear why it was so easy to guess that Demjanjuk is the suspect. The foils were not chosen on the basis of descriptions produced prior to the identifications. In fact there was no attempt to get such descriptions. The memories of the witnesses were tested through the photographs, not through interrogation. The result is that none of the foils bore any resemblance to Demjanjuk. His portrait was the only one that could be described as round face, short neck, balding. Some of the faces were notably non-round, non-balding. Demjanjuk's face on the picture was much larger than any other face. Two of the others were logically excluded: Fedorenko because he had been identified previously by most witnesses and could have been familiar to all witnesses; Rychalsky because in some tests his name was on his picture."
[A fair lineup resulted only in two mock witnesses out of 25 pointing to Demjanjuk. In an independent experiment 58 students were asked to point to the "most guilty looking" person on the spreads, about 30% then pointed to Demjanjuk in both real spreads. With a correctly made lineup only two out of 25 mock witnesses pointed out Demjanjuk as the "most guilty looking" person.
The rule against showing different spreads with the same individual was broken too. This biased the identification, as a couple of experiments have shown.]
pp. 136ff.: [The recording and reporting by the investigators was neither complete, nor fully correct, despite their insistence that they were accurate.]
p. 140: [The crucial negative results were not systematically gathered.]
p. 142: [Suggestive and arbitrary methods used by the investigators.]
p. 143: [Despite later confidence, the first results were not conclusive.]
"Recognition of a suspect can only be accepted as legal evidence if it is immediate. Therefore we need report about the first interrogations, not about recognitions that occurred later. Mrs. Radiwker did not report the first recognitions by Goldfarb, Turowski, and Czarny. Of the others, Rosenberg was not certain: "I see a great resemblance; I decline to identify with certainty". Epstein was also not certain: "This picture reminds me strongly of Ivan". Rajchman needed half an hour, and was only "fairly certain". The only immediate and certain first identifications were by Boraks, Lindwasser, and Levkovitch. At the Jerusalem trial Boraks was too old to produce a meaningful testimony; Lindwasser was dead; the testimony by Levkowitch was withdrawn. It is not unfair to conclude that out of some 30 witnesses only three were reported to be certain. These three made their identifications more than four months after the testing of Turowski, Goldfarb, and Rosenberg. They could have talked to the others at the yearly memorial meeting, but they could not be interviewed about this in court."
p. 144:
"The fact that so many witnesses failed to make any identification creates a serious doubt about the identity of John Demjanjuk. In principle there are two possibilities: either those who did not identify him did not perceive or remember Ivan accurately; or those who did identify him all made the same mistake. What is the probability of these two cases? The first possibility is in fact not at all likely; we know from the case of Marinus De Rijke that even concentration camp survivors forget, and 40 years is a long time. But the second possibility should be a major source of concern to the court, because the investigations were conducted in such a suggestive manner that the same mistake could easily have occurred in one third of the witnesses. The photographic parades were actually showups, not lineups. The investigators could have exerted all sorts of suggestion. The identifications were separated by considerable time periods, in which the witnesses could have talked to each other. From experiences with other cases we know that these are exactly the conditions in which confirmation by successive witnesses should not be accepted as corroboration."
p. 145: [Out of 46 rules applicable to the Demjanjuk case 37 were "directly or indirectly violated by the investigating authorities". A table of all violations is presented.]
"[...] the procedures used for the identification of Ivan are notoriously invalid."
pp. 147ff.: [Ethical aspects of expert testimony are discussed.]
Compelling. It's not how the identification procedure was described in the Netflix series. It was stated by one of the lead prosecutors, in a contemporary interview, that a survivor had been shown photographs and latched onto JDs image identifying him as the gas chamber operator, and had been told by the interviewer he was wrong because JD was at Sobibor, not Treblinka. But he was insistent - that's the gas chamber operator.

The only ID process shown in depth was Otto Horn's where it was indicated he'd been coached.

But it didnt seem that important because what was emphasized by the judges, at the time of the trial and now, is that the survivors KNEW JD - not that they recognized or could identify him, but that they knew him as they interacted with him in the courtroom. As the judges in Israel read out the guilty verdict they made it clear that their verdict was dependent on the power of the survivors' testimony of knowing JD. Then in contemporary interviews the judges maintained that they were and still are certain that those survivors knew JD.

Now, these judges have all the access to false memory that we have, as well as all the Soviet Union Evidence (because of which the guilty verdict was over turned) and yet they STILL maintain the survivors knew JD.
Last edited by JaneMary on 18 Nov 2019 08:26, edited 1 time in total.

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