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xoxol.org | 08Nov2011 | Lubomyr Prytulak
Letter 2 to Alan Ryan Jr.,
Subject: Re: John Demjanjuk
Date: 08 November 2011 6:47:23 PM PST (CA)
Dear Professor Ryan:
ARE YOU HUNKERING DOWN IN SILENCE?
When you devoted Chapter 4 of your Quiet Neighbors
to a discussion of the guilt of John Demjanjuk and the authenticity of
the Trawniki ID card, you were untroubled by the dubious principle that
"the proper forum for [such discussion] is the courtroom." If
the latter is your attitude today, then it is a change of attitude, and
a change that might well invite the description "hunkering down in
YOU SAY THAT COURTS HAVE NEVER DOUBTED THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE TRAWNIKI
For which there are several reasons, one being that John Demjanjuk
prosecutors have systematically hoodwinked the courts. Is it
not the case, to take an outstanding example, that the world's leading
forensic laboratory for evaluating the authenticity of Third Reich
documents, the Bundeskriminalamt or BKA, had concluded that the
Trawniki ID Card was an "amateur forgery," and is it not true also that
the prosecution concealed this BKA opinion from the Israeli court,
which court went on to convict John Demjanjuk and sentence him to death?
weekly Stern published a shocking revelation on 5 March 1992, proving
unmistakably that the Israeli prosecution concealed crucial information
about the Travniki document's being a forgery; the Israelis had had the
full co-operation of the German police and the Ministry of
Justice. The article states that on 23 January 1987, three
weeks before the show-trial began, Superintendent Amnon Bezaleli took
the original Travniki document for examination at the German police
force's main criminal-identification laboratory in Weisbaden, known by
its initials as the BKA. Bezaleli, it will be remembered, was
the head of Israel Police's document-examination laboratory and the
prosecution's central witness on the Travniki document.
According to Stern, the BKA, after a cursory examination, told Bezaleli
that this was a counterfeit document forged in a more or less amateur
way. The laboratory analysts addressed the following points:
the face in the photograph, which the prosecution identified as
Demjanjuk's, had been pasted on to the uniform using photomontage
techniques; the picture was not originally attached to the card, but
had been transferred from another document; there was no match between
the seal on the Travniki picture and that on the document
itself. The analysts did not have time to compare Demjanjuk's
known signature with the Demjanjuk signature on the Travniki document,
but even more serious revelations appear in the rest of the
article. Dr Louis Ferdinand Werner, head of the BKA, informed
Bezaleli of the results of the preliminary examination in a private
conversation. Bezaleli consulted people from the state
prosecutor's office in Jerusalem, then announced to Werner that all
tests on the Travniki document should be halted at once. Even
when Dr Werner told Bezaleli that with the results of further tests,
which would take no more than two weeks, he would be able to provide a
comprehensive report on the document and its faults, the Israeli
position did not change. Bezaleli took the document and
returned to Israel with all due haste. Dr Werner wrote a memo
in the wake of these events, in which he said, "Regarding this case,
the experts' doubts will be subordinated to political aspects ... the
discovery of true facts in this case is not what is important
here." When Stern's correspondent had presented this
information to [Israeli prosecutor] Shaked and asked for his reaction,
he made no denial. "We base ourselves on our experts'
opinions and continue to consider them persuasive," he said.
Dr Werner's memo lay hidden for years in a German safe.
So for years Shaked and Bezaleli, with the help of the German
authorities, concealed vital information: that the world's most
authoritative and reliable body for determining the authenticity of
documents from the Third Reich needed only a cursory examination to
state unequivocally that the Travniki document was no more than an
Sheftel, The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a
Show-Trial, Victor Gollancz, London, 1994, pp. 336-337
And so even while knowing that the BKA verdict of
forgery had been concealed from the Israeli court, you nevertheless
thought it fair to summarize for me in your email that no court has
ever doubted the card's authenticity?
And although this particular deception took place while the Trawniki
Card was in Israeli hands, is it not fair to ask whether the OSI was
party to the deception? How could you yourself not have known
that the card had been submitted to the BKA for evaluation, and how
could you not have waited with bated breath for what you prayed would
be a BKA confirmation of authenticity, and how could you not have
learned that the BKA evaluation was negative, and how could it have
come to pass that you were never told that this BKA verdict was being
concealed from the defense and from the Israeli court?
WEREN'T YOU LEADER OF THE EVIDENCE-TAMPERING TEAM?
The Federal Appeals Panel ruling of 17 Nov 1993 condemns the conduct of
OSI attorneys with regard to John Demjanjuk, but with you serving as
the director of the OSI, would it not be fair to conclude that the
condemnation points primarily at you?
of the O.S.I attorneys toward disclosing information to Demjanjuk's
counsel was not consistent with the Government's obligation to work for
justice rather than for a result that favors its attorneys'
preconceived ideas of what the outcome of the legal proceedings should
We do not believe their personal conviction that they had the right man
provided an excuse for recklessly disregarding their obligation to
provide information specifically requested by Demjanjuk ... the
withholding of which almost certainly misled his counsel and endangered
his ability to mount a defense....
The O.S.I. attorneys acted with reckless disregard for their duty to
the court and their discovery obligations in failing to disclose at
least three sets of documents in their possession before the
proceedings against Demjanjuk ever reached trial.
Thus, we hold that the O.S.I. attorneys acted with reckless disregard
for the truth and for the Government's obligation to take no steps that
prevent an adversary from presenting his case fully and
fairly. This was fraud on the court in the circumstances of
this case where, by recklessly assuming Demjanjuk's guilt, they failed
to observe their obligation to produce exculpatory materials requested
It is obvious from the record that the prevailing mindset at the O.S.I.
was that the office must try to please and maintain very close
relationships with various interest groups because their continued
existence depended upon it.
The New York
Times, November 18, 1993
The personal indictment of yourself that might be
inferred from the broad statement above, Israeli defense attorney Yoram
Sheftel expresses explicitly below:
If you had the opportunity today to speak with the two former directors
of the OSI, Allan Ryan ... What would you say to him today?
SHEFTEL: I would tell him that he is a key player in, in my
opinion, the worst cover-up in concealing evidence in a major case
taken by an American public prosecutor in modern history after the
second world war.
HADZEWYCZ: And what would you say to his successor, Neal Sher?
SHEFTEL: Exactly the same.
HADZEWYCZ: Those two are equally guilty of this cover-up?
SHEFTEL: I would say Allan Ryan more, because Allan Ryan was
in charge of the OSI in August 1978 and through 1981 — this is the key,
crucial time of the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute
Demjanjuk. And the decision to prosecute was made by Allan
Ryan, who knew that Demjanjuk was not "Ivan the Terrible" and yet he
prosecuted him for being "Ivan the Terrible." Again, I don't
know of a major case with such a deliberate cover-up as Allan Ryan,
more, and Neal Sher, not much less, are responsible for.
interviews Yoram Sheftel, The Ukrainian Weekly,
July 21, 1996, p. 3
If you wish to defend yourself against the charge
of concealing evidence, a good place to start might be to divulge who
played the leading role in the OSI concealment of the exculpatory
THE MOST DAMAGING ACCUSATION
The most damaging accusation is not that you proceeded with your
prosecution of John Demjanjuk despite knowing that he could not have
been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka. The most damaging
accusation is that you proceeded with your prosecution of John
Demjanjuk for crimes committed by Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka
despite knowing that there never had been any Ivan the Terrible of
You knew this in part because you had closely watched the false, and
eventually discredited, conviction of Frank Walus on the basis of wild
accusations brought by putative eyewitnesses, accusations such as the
[T]he Justice Department
had 12 eyewitnesses to his Nazi
"I will never forget that face," one such witness said. "This is the
face who killed an innocent man whose only crime was the fact that he
was a Jew." "Here," said another witness, standing before
Walus in the Chicago District courtroom, "sits the murderer."
Another witness testified that after a woman, accompanied by her two
daughters, refused to disrobe upon Walus' order, Walus shot the woman
in the back of her head and just as quickly killed the two
girls. Testimony of similar character was related by all the
other Holocaust survivor eyewitnesses.
Michael Waris Jr., Andrew
Fylypovych, and Lidia Boyduy Shandor, The
Strange Case of John Demjanjuk: Deceit of the U.S. Justice Department
could cause death of innocent man, The Ukrainian Weekly, 01
And so, if you did not know it before, the Walus
case taught you that a group of putative eyewitnesses could all be
lying, even a group as large as twelve, and which opened up the
possibility that the group of putative eyewitnesses that levelled
similarly wild accusations against John Demjanjuk could all be lying as
And the evidence that the Demjanjuk witnesses were lying lay close at
hand -- the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka that they described was
NOTORIOUS. You yourself recognize that Ivan the Terrible was
the most widely known and vividly remembered thing about Treblinka:
Of all the
functionaries at Treblinka, few stood out in the minds of the surviving
Jews as clearly as Ivan, the man who operated the gas
chamber. They did not know his last name, of course, but they
called him "Ivan Grozny" -- Ivan the Terrible. He was stocky,
with close-cropped blond hair and gray eyes. And he was
brutally strong, capable of wielding a pipe six feet long as a
club. The work-Jews, whose crude barracks were built next to
the gas chamber, quickly learned one rule: one did not look into the
eyes of Ivan. The price of that was a swift blow of the iron
pipe and a shattered skull.
A. Ryan, Jr., Quite neighbors: prosecuting Nazi war criminals
in America, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego New York
London, 1984, p. 101
Now -- as I have argued in detail in my BLURB
BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN DEMJANJUK, SO FAR at www.xoxol.org/dem/blurb.html
-- if this Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka really existed, then all
descriptions of Treblinka would have featured him. If no
early accounts of Treblinka even mentioned him, then it would follow
that he didn't exist, that he was a recent invention, that the
occasional putative eyewitness who repeated the story was fantasizing,
was gaining entry into the coterie of ne'er-do-wells who accrued renown
by reciting wacko stories portraying John Demjanjuk as a leading
participant in the Holocaust.
Examining your Notes on pp. 367-368 in your book Quiet
Neighbors to see what sources you consulted in writing your
Chapter 4 on Demjanjuk, I find that the first-mentioned source is Gitta
Sereny's Into that Darkness, which you say "is
based on Sereny's extensive interviews with the commandant of
Treblinka, Franz Stangl, and her own considerable research.
Its historical accuracy is above dispute ..." [p. 368]. It
follows, then, that Gitta Sereny should have had much to say about the
notorious Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka -- but what you discovered
instead as you read Sereny is that she makes no mention of any Ivan the
Terrible. Gitta Sereny, apparently, despite having
interviewed the Treblinka commandant in depth, and despite "her own
considerable research," had never heard of any such person, and
apparently Treblinka commandant Franz Stangl never had
either. Case closed! There never was any Ivan the
Terrible of Treblinka! Remember? -- Ivan the Terrible was
NOTORIOUS. Everyone feared him, everyone talked about him,
everyone remembered him. He was perhaps the greatest killer
of WWII, perhaps even the greatest killer in history. To
speak of Treblinka was to recount the deeds of Ivan the Terrible of
Treblinka. If Ivan the Terrible had existed, Franz Stangl
would have been especially motivated to describe him because it would
have shifted some of the guilt from German to Ukrainian shoulders, some
of the guilt from his own shoulders to the shoulders of an outsider who
Stangl could claim operated outside his control.
Nevertheless, Franz Stangl does not mention any Ivan the
Terrible. No person of even moderate intelligence could have
avoided realizing all this as he read Sereny's book.
And then your very first footnote in Chapter 4, footnote number 1,
cites Raul Hilberg's authoritative and monumental, The
Destruction of the European Jews. But in Hilberg's
description of Treblinka you again found no mention of any Ivan the
Terrible. But if this Ivan existed, Raul Hilberg could not
possibly have overlooked him. Same case closed a second time.
Glancing over at your Chapter 5 notes, I see that you've also read Nora
Levin's The Holocaust. Need I say that I
know what you found about Ivan the Terrible in that weighty
tome? Yes, you found nothing! Nora Levin has not
heard of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka either, at least not heard
anything believable, not anything that she cares to repeat in her
book. And in the Chapter 5 notes I see also that you cite
Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and
so I conclude that you have noted in Shirer's discussion of Treblinka
no mention of any Ivan the Terrible either.
But back to your notes on Demjanjuk Chapter 4 -- I see further that you
also read Jean-Francois Steiner's Treblinka.
Same thing yet again -- you discover that the unforgettable monster
the Terrible seems to have been forgotten by Steiner as well.
You cite also Konnilyn Feig's Hitler's Death Camps.
I have that book too, and so I can tell you what you yourself found out
-- Feig joins the very long list of Holocaust experts who have never
seen any evidence that would induce them to credit the idea of an Ivan
the Terrible of Treblinka.
No doubt at all remains: the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka is
a lie. Lies can kill. Ivan the Terrible of
Treblinka is a murder weapon manufactured to kill John Demjanjuk, just
as the Butcher of Kielce had been a murder weapon manufactured to kill
Frank Walus. And no doubt remains also that you learned at
the very outset of your reading that the story of Ivan the Terrible of
Treblinka was a lie, but that you nevertheless resolutely pushed ahead
on a path that some might describe as lynching for the purpose of
Yours very truly,
Subject: RE: John Demjanjuk
Date: 07 November 2011 12:19:11 PM PST (CA)
Dear Mr. Prytulak:
I have never “hunker[ed] down in silence,” as you put it, concerning
the Demjanjuk case or my role in it. But I am not going to
debate the forensic details of the Trawniki card. The proper
forum for that is the courtroom, where both sides in this litigation
have presented evidence in three countries for thirty years.
No judge has yet found any credence to claims that the card is false,
altered, doctored, or a KGB plot. Nor is there any credence
to your allegation that I or the US Department of Justice conspired to
present false evidence.