Demjanuk on Netflix

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Poot
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Poot » 03 Feb 2020 22:03

JaneMary wrote:
03 Feb 2020 11:40
The resurgence in interest in the case has been prompted by the Netflix series about it, which was incredibly engaging and very well done. Did you watch it? I'm in a other forum with the children of survivors who remain adamant Demjanuk was at Treblinka, based on what their parents told them. The series sparked debate there for weeks and some of the members have written books about the case. In Israel it is still spoken about by the public on a weekly basis, which even I was amazed to discover! I dont think the amount of worldwide interst can be overstated. It raised so many big issues about the Israeli and American legal systems, the value/accuracy of survivor testimony, identification procedures and more. I personally find it fascinating but I have for years well before some Israeli film makers revived the West's interest in it. I hope there will be a consensus reached where the majority of experts agree on the identity on the man who looks just lile Demjanjuk at Sobibor.
I did see it, and enjoyed it. Like any documentary, there is inherent bias one way or another, and I tried to approach it with an open mind. I remember the initial accusation, arrest and deportation to Israel when it happened here in the USA. I've not been aware of the case's appeal internationally as I've not tracked it beyond USA media sources.

Having pursued, dealt with or interviewed many murderers, rapists and other hardened criminals, I was especially interested in the footage from the court proceedings in Israel. I found Demjanyuk's body language and his verbal emphasis at certain points to be highly revealing. His non-verbal communication and his exchanges with some of the witnesses were equally telling. I re-watched certain segments without sound, and came away from it virtually convinced that he was a Trawniki alumnus at a minimum, if not exactly whom he was accused of being. The subsequent footage derived from surveillance video in the USA and from media video in Germany as he played at being painfully debilitated did nothing to bolster his image as a truthful defendant. I found the Defense's argument that his Sobibor (?) identification card was a KGB fabrication to be beyond ridiculous.

The documentary brought up many good points regarding the value of witness testimony, especially when the events in question have been eclipsed by decades, old age and assumptions not based on direct observation. Even in a single incident with multiple witnesses, there will frequently be widely varying accounts of the exact same event or events. I'm not casting doubt on the veracity of recall among the featured witnesses, but I doubt the clarity, especially after such a long time and with many other life events in the meantime muddling or confusing accurate recall.
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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 04 Feb 2020 13:35

I haven't seen the documentary and don't plan to see it, but from what I read about it, it seems to leave the door open about Ivan the Terrible's identity, whereas the case is not a "he said, she said" but rather a certain case of mistaken identity - Demjanjuk was at Sobibor, Marchenko the Terrible was in Treblinka. A series that leaves a false impression can't be a very good one.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 04 Feb 2020 16:01

Dozens of newspapers around the world, at least 2 governments and Holocaust museums think it's important.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 04 Feb 2020 16:16

Sergey Romanov wrote:
03 Feb 2020 17:38
> hope there will be a consensus reached where the majority of experts agree on the identity on the man who looks just lile Demjanjuk at Sobibor.

Why? It's not important.
Many people think it is important. If you read a lot of technical details about the case you may come to the conclusion that the photospreads used to identify Demjanjuk were hopelessly flawed. But most members of the public aren't going to do this. Even Wikipedia, a source most people would go to, says the case is unsolved. Hence the importance of these new photos making a firm, positive identification.

I think the Netflix series was incredibly well done and it would be hard to watch it only once. The courtroom footage the film makers used was sitting in some TV station vault in Israel decaying. If the series hadn't been made it would have decayed beyond use.

Pat, I agree the body language was intensely interesting. One of the strengths of the series is that it had all this footage and took the viewer on a journey but left unanswered questions to investigate and also provided the opportunity for viewers to examine things like body language and come to their own conclusions.

One thing I could not understand is why Demjanjuk wasn't simply asked if the photograph on the Trawniki ID was him?! I mean, he must know whether that is his face or not.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 04 Feb 2020 16:45

And one of the most fascinating characters was the defense lawyer, Sheftel, right? Pat, you said the argument that the Trawniki ID card was a KGB fabrication was ridiculous...do you think Sheftel was sincerely wrong in this "beyond ridiculous" claim or do you think he was lying? What was your impression of him? He stated repeatedly that as a Jew he would never have taken the case if he believed there was a chance Demjanjuk was guilty. Do you find that believable? I'm half way through his book on the case which has a lot more detail on the evidence used and the experts he called on that document.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Poot » 04 Feb 2020 17:54

Sergey Romanov wrote:
04 Feb 2020 13:35
...it seems to leave the door open about Ivan the Terrible's identity, whereas the case is not a "he said, she said" but rather a certain case of mistaken identity - Demjanjuk was at Sobibor, Marchenko the Terrible was in Treblinka..
I'd say that's an accurate summary. Intentionally or by accident, the series left me with a sense that it was 'undecided,' although it's fair to say everyone will come away from it with their own opinion.

Pat
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Poot » 04 Feb 2020 18:09

JaneMary wrote:
04 Feb 2020 16:45
And one of the most fascinating characters was the defense lawyer, Sheftel, right? Pat, you said the argument that the Trawniki ID card was a KGB fabrication was ridiculous...do you think Sheftel was sincerely wrong in this "beyond ridiculous" claim or do you think he was lying? What was your impression of him? He stated repeatedly that as a Jew he would never have taken the case if he believed there was a chance Demjanjuk was guilty. Do you find that believable? I'm half way through his book on the case which has a lot more detail on the evidence used and the experts he called on that document.
I simply can't take the claim seriously that the KGB would take the time to cook up a fake ID card for him. Think of the historical context at the time the case broke: in 1977 he was accused of being a relatively minor war criminal in hiding. The USSR had plenty of other matters to worry about at the time (Cold War) than one obscure ex-conscript turned Nazi tool. If they would actually go to those lengths, why didn't they go higher up the food chain? It's ludicrous, and is the type of conspiracy theory believed by people who can't see the difference between 'possible' and 'likely.'

I've met plenty of people like Sheftel before, so I'm familiar with their mindset and approach. His job is to advocate for his client, and planting seeds of doubt is part of that. He performed far better than Demjanyuk's American attorney, at least in part due to his familiarity with the Israeli criminal justice system. Whether he was lying or not? Who knows. Two aspects of the US legal system that work well are the concepts of 'reasonable doubt' and 'preponderance of evidence.' I don't know if these have analogs in other places in the world, but they serve as guiding principles in determining guilt or innocence. That's summarizing things quite a bit but I'm sure you follow. I'm colored by my own national origin and legal system, so the only bit of doubt I was left with was if Demjanyuk was absolutely Ivan the Terrible or not. But did I feel that he was cut from the same bolt of cloth? As we say in the US, he was dirty, and dirty as hell.

Pat
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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 04 Feb 2020 18:20

JaneMary wrote:
04 Feb 2020 16:01
Dozens of newspapers around the world, at least 2 governments and Holocaust museums think it's important.
One million lemmings fallacy...

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 04 Feb 2020 18:23

JaneMary wrote:
04 Feb 2020 16:16
Sergey Romanov wrote:
03 Feb 2020 17:38
> hope there will be a consensus reached where the majority of experts agree on the identity on the man who looks just lile Demjanjuk at Sobibor.

Why? It's not important.
Many people think it is important. If you read a lot of technical details about the case you may come to the conclusion that the photospreads used to identify Demjanjuk were hopelessly flawed. But most members of the public aren't going to do this. Even Wikipedia, a source most people would go to, says the case is unsolved. Hence the importance of these new photos making a firm, positive identification.

I think the Netflix series was incredibly well done and it would be hard to watch it only once. The courtroom footage the film makers used was sitting in some TV station vault in Israel decaying. If the series hadn't been made it would have decayed beyond use.

Pat, I agree the body language was intensely interesting. One of the strengths of the series is that it had all this footage and took the viewer on a journey but left unanswered questions to investigate and also provided the opportunity for viewers to examine things like body language and come to their own conclusions.

One thing I could not understand is why Demjanjuk wasn't simply asked if the photograph on the Trawniki ID was him?! I mean, he must know whether that is his face or not.
But what do photospreads have to do with his presence in Sobibor, which is proven both by the Nazi documents and by the documents he filled out himself in the US?

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 04 Feb 2020 18:31

I suppose it is useful to remind why presence or absence of JD on the photos is absolutely irrelevant to his proven presence in Sobibor.

https://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot ... art-i.html
Doc. no. 1. Found in Vinnits'ka oblast archive. Trawniki service identity pass no. 1393 identifies an Ukrainian, "Iwan Demjanjuk", son of "Nikolai", born on April 30, 1920 in "Duboimachariwzi", as serving in Okzow since September 22, 1942 and in Sobibor since March 27, 1943. This is the most famous document related to the Demjanjuk case. Deniers and Demjanjuk's defence argue that it is a KGB forgery. We will discuss these claims later. I have not seen any challenges to authenticity of the documents which follow.
Doc. no. 2. Found in the Lithuanian Central State Archives in Vilnius. Disciplinary report of 20.01.1943. States that two days earlier 4 Trawniki-trained guards were apprehended for violating camp quarantine. One of the guards is identified as "Deminjuk", with identification number 1393 (i.e., the same as in the first document).
Doc. no. 3. Found in FSB archives. Transfer roster which documents the transfer of 80 Trawnikis to Sobibor on March 26, 1943. 30th in the list is "Iwan Demianiuk", identification number 1393, with date and place of birth the same as John Demjanjuk. The date of transfer is compatible with the document no. 1.
Doc. no. 4. Found in FSB archives. Transfer roster dated October 1, 1943, which documents the transfer of 140 men from Trawniki to Flossenbuerg. 53rd in the list is "Iwan Demianjuk", with the same date and place of birth and identification number as the previous Ivans.
Doc. no. 5. Found in the German Federal Archives in Berlin. Flossenbuerg weapons log of April 1, 1944, which documents that Wachmann "Demianiuk" received a rifle on October 8, 1943, i.e. a week after the person in document no. 6 was transferred to Flossenbuerg.
Doc. no. 6. Found in the German Federal Archives in Berlin. Flossenbuerg daily roster, which shows that on October 4, 1944, "Demenjuk 1393" was assigned to guard the Bunker Construction Detail.
Doc. no. 7. Found in the German Federal Archives in Berlin. An undated Flossenbuerg roster of 117 guards, listing "Demenjuk" with identification no. 1393 in entry no. 44. The roster can be dated as created in the period from Dec. 10, 1944 to Jan. 15, 1945.
Doc. no. 8. A very ironic item in the list - Demjanjuk's own "Application for Assistance", which he submitted in March of 1948 to the Preparatory Commission of the International Refugee Organization. While he supplied the false information about his residence throughout the war, he noted that from April 1937 to January 1943 he was a driver in "Sobibor, Chelm, Poland". Sobibor was not a well-known name at that time, and the fact that Demjanjuk himself wrote it down (even while giving the wrong dates and lying about being a driver there) is highly incriminating.
Doc. no. 9. Finally, in his application for an American visa on December 27, 1951, Demjanjuk wrote that from 1936 to 1943 he resided in Sobibor, Poland.
http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot. ... rt-ii.html
Here I'm posting a long and detailed excerpt from the verdict in German which those of you who don't read German can translate with Google or DeepL, but here is a summary of the findings:

1. The information on the card corresponds to the physical reality (Demjanjuk had a scar on his back, his birth date and place are correctly named).

2. The man on the photo is indeed Demjanjuk, as is confirmed by the retired forensic expert Reinhardt Altmann with decades of Bundeskriminalamt experience, based on various other photos of Demjanjuk.

3. The fact that the photo was on the card from the beginning is shown by an analysis of the stamps by the forensic expert Larry Stewart. The first stamp was applied when the photo was first glued on the card. After some time it came off due to bad glue quality and had to be glued on again, at which point another stamp had to be applied. We know this because the lines of the first stamp do not align perfectly in their current position but can be shown to have aligned perfectly initially.

4. The forensic expert Dr. Anton Dallmayer of the Bavarian Landeskriminalamt proved that the Demjanjuk card was from the same document batch as three other ID cards (Iwan Juchnowskij, Iwan Wolembachow, Mykola Bondarenko). He compared the fonts which exhibited individual properties like the custom Umlauts and SS-runes, as well as numerous font defects, showing that the forms are from the same batch. He also compared the stamp defects, showing that the same stamp was used.

5. He further made the numbers on the white strip Demjanjuk has on the photo more readable, they turned out to be 1393.

6. The authenticity of the 4 ID cards is further confirmed by cross-referencing the data in them with numerous other German documents, like transfer lists, where the names and numbers of the Trawniki men appear.

7. The handwriting expert Beate Wül. from the Bavarian Landeskriminalamt examined the signature on the card (which consisted of only three letters and was very faded) but could not come to any conclusion due to the inability to examine the original Demjanjuk signatures on the other early documents, which were available only in the photographic form. Nevertheless, there was no negative conclusion.

8. The forensic expert Larry Stewart examined 22 relevant documents, including other ID cards and transfer rosters, and was unable to find any hints of forgery. Among other things, he tested the paper of the documents with various methods (microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, luminescence test) and found that they were not made to look old with coffee, tea or chemicals as forgers sometimes do, rather their old look is natural.

9. He also found no trace of paper lighteners that were used by the paper manufactures since the 1950s.

10. Most importantly, he established that the documents were also not produced later using old forms or paper. Freshly manufactured paper dries out with time and becomes brittle. During the typing on a typewriter this would lead to small paper tears on the back of each document, but nothing like that was found on any of the documents he examined.

11. He took small samples from Demjanjuk's ID card and tested them with a scanning electron microscope and an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer. The chemical composition of the paper corresponded to the 1940s.

12. He also took ink samples from the card. A comparison with the collection of the US Secret Service (which reaches back to the 1920s) that the ink chemically corresponds to that used in the early 1940s.

13. In another section the verdict mentions the fact that the specific data from the card (as well as from one transfer roster), including mistakes, appears in the 1948 wanted list by the MGB (thus the card couldn't have been forged after this date, and there was no motive for the MGB to engage in such useless but very elaborate forgery in 1948).

14. Further, in the 1952 MGB wanted list Demjanjuk's photo from the card appears - with a visible stamp from the card.


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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by JaneMary » 07 Feb 2020 21:08

Poot wrote:
04 Feb 2020 18:09
JaneMary wrote:
04 Feb 2020 16:45
And one of the most fascinating characters was the defense lawyer, Sheftel, right? Pat, you said the argument that the Trawniki ID card was a KGB fabrication was ridiculous...do you think Sheftel was sincerely wrong in this "beyond ridiculous" claim or do you think he was lying? What was your impression of him? He stated repeatedly that as a Jew he would never have taken the case if he believed there was a chance Demjanjuk was guilty. Do you find that believable? I'm half way through his book on the case which has a lot more detail on the evidence used and the experts he called on that document.
I simply can't take the claim seriously that the KGB would take the time to cook up a fake ID card for him. Think of the historical context at the time the case broke: in 1977 he was accused of being a relatively minor war criminal in hiding. The USSR had plenty of other matters to worry about at the time (Cold War) than one obscure ex-conscript turned Nazi tool. If they would actually go to those lengths, why didn't they go higher up the food chain? It's ludicrous, and is the type of conspiracy theory believed by people who can't see the difference between 'possible' and 'likely.'

I've met plenty of people like Sheftel before, so I'm familiar with their mindset and approach. His job is to advocate for his client, and planting seeds of doubt is part of that. He performed far better than Demjanyuk's American attorney, at least in part due to his familiarity with the Israeli criminal justice system. Whether he was lying or not? Who knows. Two aspects of the US legal system that work well are the concepts of 'reasonable doubt' and 'preponderance of evidence.' I don't know if these have analogs in other places in the world, but they serve as guiding principles in determining guilt or innocence. That's summarizing things quite a bit but I'm sure you follow. I'm colored by my own national origin and legal system, so the only bit of doubt I was left with was if Demjanyuk was absolutely Ivan the Terrible or not. But did I feel that he was cut from the same bolt of cloth? As we say in the US, he was dirty, and dirty as hell.

Pat
Hi Pat

Yes, you're probably very correct. The idea of a forged ID didnt seem ludicrous to me as a possibility. The reason the defence claimed it could have been done by the KGB was to cause conflict between the Ukrainian and Jewish communities and prevent solidarity during the cold war. Division is certainly what ultimately happened just because of this one lowly Trawniki man! So it didnt seem ludicrous but I dont believe now, that the ID was forged.

I don't know if you read through this whole thread and the information Sergey presented about the fraud on the court committed by the prosecution. Now reading Sheftel's book which elaborates on that, the conspiracy to frame Demjanjuk is very clear. Sheftel's has a bias but it is apparent both the Israeli and American prosecution knew Demjanjuk was NOT Ivan the Terrible and were going to let him hang anyway. Which is outrageous! And the Devil Next Door is also outrageous in the sense that it doesnt present any of this information which is public record. The prosecution suppressed exculpatory evidence. But the series of course propels people who are interested enough to seek the facts out.

Hi Sergey,

Sheftel's book is full of technical details from world renowned experts testifying about ink, paper etc to show the Trawniki document IS a forgery. Too much to probably copy here - pages and pages that contradict technical list you shared above. Who would have time to compare each professional's credentials from each case etc when both sides have experts to say the document is and isnt forged? The public doesnt know which side's experts were correct.
We know the Israeli judges were biased towards believing the survivors and were therefore disinclined to accept the idea of the document being forged and even rejected all the other documentary evidence. That's why photos of JD at Sobibor are so amazing for the public :-) there is nothing complex or disputable about seeing the image of man at a place he said he'd never been

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Sergey Romanov » 08 Feb 2020 01:13

Let's not reduce the case to a "he said, she said". The card is authentic, so are JD's own handwritten documents in which he himself wrote he was in Sobibor (and never ever denied he wrote this). There's just nothing to discuss. He was there. No photos can change this fact in any direction.

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Re: Demjanuk on Netflix

Post by Poot » 08 Feb 2020 04:56

I agree with Sergey Romanov. Post #70 in this thread lays it out in detail.
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