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Neal Sher   Letter 06   15-Oct-1998   The Ivan who never was
Do you not agree that information such as the above might invite some observers to entertain the hypothesis that the OSI, under your direction, was guilty not merely of the lesser though still egregious crime of framing John Demjanjuk for being the real Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, but rather was guilty of the greater and truly mind-boggling crime of framing John Demjanjuk for being a mythical Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka?
The possibility that there never was any "Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka" has already been pointed out by others, most notably by Pat Buchanan.  In doing so, Pat Buchanan has revealed himself to be a pearl among journalists.  Pat Buchanan reaches out his hand to a drowning man, even though others have deemed that drowning man to be an untouchable.  Pat Buchanan speaks the truth, even though others have deemed that truth to be an unutterable taboo.  Pat Buchanan stands almost alone among journalists, even though self-interest demands that he follow the safety of the crowd.  Pat Buchanan is as different from Canada's Justice Minister, Anne McLellan, as the night is the day.

The creation of myths concerning the Jewish Holocaust has tragic consequences not only for victims such as John Demjanjuk, but for the Jewish people as well.  The creation of such myths has been identified by Israeli journalist Boaz Evron as being, after the Holocaust itself, the second great tragedy to befall the Jewish people in this century:

Two terrible things happened to the Jewish people during this century: [First, t]he Holocaust and the lessons drawn from it.  [Second, t]he non-historical and easily refutable commentaries on the Holocaust made either deliberately or through simple ignorance and their use for propaganda purposes among non-Jews or Jews both in Israel and the diaspora constitute a cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel.  (Boaz Evron, Holocaust, a Danger for the Jewish People, published in the Hebrew journal Yiton 77, May-June 1980)

Thus, Neal Sher, first author of the myth of "Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka," is revealed as one of those who is responsible for the "cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel" spoken of by Boaz Evron, and thus as an enemy of the Jewish people.

  October 15, 1998
Neal M. Sher
Schmeltzer, Aptaker & Shepard, P.C.
Suite 1000
The Watergate
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
USA 20037-1905


Dear Mr. Sher:

In my letter 5 to you of 8 Sep 1998, I present evidence that under your direction, the U.S. Office of Special investigations (OSI) suppressed testimony exculpatory of John Demjanjuk.  Specifically dealt with in that letter was the suppression of the eyewitness testimonies of Richard Glazar, Franz Suchomel, and Kurt Franz, though a case could be made that the exculpatory testimonies of a broader slate of witnesses was similarly suppressed.

With respect to Treblinka survivor Richard Glazar currently residing in Switzerland, I recounted two reasons for believing that his testimony would have been exculpatory had he been called upon to testify: (1) your Office of Special Investigations (OSI) appears to have paid for Glazar to come to Washington, D.C. to give a deposition to OSI attorney Norman Moscowitz and his staff on 14 October 1979, whereupon the OSI appears to have suppressed that deposition; (2) the tape-recorded telephone conversation between Phoenix attorney William J. Wolf and Richard Glazar in which Mr. Glazar acknowledges that he has promised to withhold his testimony from the Demjanjuk defense, and that his justification for doing so is his belief that John Demjanjuk may have been guilty of offenses other than those with which he was charged and that Glazar might have known about.

At the present time, there is available direct and detailed information of precisely what position Mr. Glazar would have taken had he been asked to testify at any Demjanjuk proceedings.  That is, Mr. Glazar has published a book, Trap With a Green Fence, whose full citation is given below, detailing his experiences at Treblinka the camp at which John Demjanjuk was accused of being "Ivan the Terrible."  I have just finished reading Mr. Glazar's book, and can inform you that it contains no mention of: (1) "John Demjanjuk," or "Ivan Demjanjuk," or any similar name; (2) "Ivan the Terrible," or any similar appellation; (3) any individual, of whatever name or nationality, who killed 900,000 Jews, or hundreds of thousands of Jews, in gas chambers, or who committed any acts resembling the prolonged and sadistic acts that have been attributed to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  At one point, Richard Glazar does mention the name "Ivan," but this single mention comes not at all close to the substantiation of the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka story that we would have expected from a Treblinka survivor:

After the order is given, "Ivan, water!" a Ukrainian guard starts the motor.  Instead of water the showers spray exhaust gas.  (p. 12)

However, Glazar is here using "Ivan" not as the name of a specific person, but as a generic term referring to any and all Slavic prisoners conscripted into German armed forces.  Furthermore, Glazar's single sentence is not the report of anything he actually witnessed throughout his book, Glazar gives no indication that he ever saw the motors being started by anybody, or even saw the motors, or ever saw the fake showers.  Rather, Glazar's statement constitutes what he understood to be the case and what he guessed may have typically happened.  In this statement, and in the entire book, then, Mr. Glazar betrays no hint of being aware of any individual who could have played the role attributed by Demjanjuk prosecutors to their mythical Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

Although Glazar's account fails to support the notion of an Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, it does serve to offer an example of the sort of vague and nonspecific statement that might have invited OSI personnel to begin creating the myth of an Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka which suggestible and manipulable witnesses could later flesh out.

But might it be possible that Richard Glazar was at Treblinka, and that Ivan the Terrible was as well, and that somehow their paths failed to cross?  Such an interpretation seems implausible.  Richard Glazar claims to have been at Treblinka for ten months.  His book demonstrates a phenomenal memory for detail and for names.  Although he worked in Treblinka's Camp One, he must have known everything that was going on in Camp Two where Ivan the Terrible is reputed to have committed his crimes Glazar's account indicates that: the non-Jewish personnel running the two camps shared living and eating quarters; the two camps lay side by side separated by a fence easy to look through, as evidenced by Glazar having to repeatedly weave pine branches into the fence to make it a more effective screen; voices could be heard between camps; all victims executed in Camp Two first arrived at and were processed through Camp One; Glazar recounts entering Camp Two.  Thus, if Ivan the Terrible was killing 900,000 Jews in Camp Two, and practicing on them the vilest sadism while doing so, then this same Ivan the Terrible, living with other guards in Camp One, would have been notorious throughout the two camps and recognized on sight by everybody in them.  Information concerning this Ivan the Terrible's sadism would have reached Richard Glazar, and thus would have been featured by Richard Glazar in his book.  The conclusion invited by a reading of Richard Glazar's account of Treblinka, then, is that Richard Glazar never mentioned any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka simply because there had never been any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

Although Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, had he existed, would have been a less significant figure in the Jewish Holocaust than Adolf Eichmann in that Ivan the Terrible worked at the bottom of the chain of command rather than at the top, for direct participation in killing and in sadistic acts, he would have far exceeded Eichmann, and in fact may have earned not only a Jewish Holocaust record, but perhaps an all-time world record for the number of individuals killed and mutilated by his own hand.  Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, had he existed, would have been among the greatest criminals of World War II, if not the very greatest.  At the same time, some forty Treblinka inmates are said to have survived the war, and so would have been available, and should have been eager, to testify concerning this greatest of all war criminals.  It follows that if Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka had existed, then he would necessarily have been featured not only in Glazar's writings, but also in all historical Holocaust writings.  However, in the historical Holocaust books that I have at hand, I find no placing of John or Ivan Demjanjuk at Treblinka, no mention of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and no mention of any individual of whatever name or nationality committing the crimes attributed by you and other Demjanjuk prosecutors to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Among these books that fail to place John or Ivan Demjanjuk in Treblinka, and that seem to be unaware of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, are the following:

It is pertinent that all but one of the above books (that one being Suhl, 1967) were published years after accusations against John Demjanjuk had been widely publicized, such that the authors of these books had ample opportunity to be reminded that John Demjanjuk if he had been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka deserved a place in their account of the Holocaust, or at least that the crimes of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, whether he had been Ivan Demjanjuk or some other person, deserved such a place.  Curiously, not a single one of the above authors elected to follow this obvious and inviting path.  None of them credit the accusations against Demjanjuk, none of them credit the stories of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Two of them allude to the prosecution of John Demjanjuk, but still fail to join their voices to those accusing John Demjanjuk of being Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and still fail to join their voices to those affirming the existence of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Thus, it is not merely the case that all the above authors have overlooked the existence of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka rather, they heard the stories and declined to repeat them.  By failing to echo the accusations against John Demjanjuk, historical writers distanced themselves from such accusations, and by failing to echo the stories of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, they repudiated such stories.  Although the OSI succeeded in eliciting from a handful of witnesses fantastic stories about John Demjanjuk and about Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, these stories had not been previously known to historians, and once made public, were denied entry into the history books.

With respect to the above information, I wonder if you would be able to answer the following six questions:

(1) Do you not agree that the account of Treblinka given by Richard Glazar in his book Trap with a Green Fence indicates that had he been called upon to testify at Demjanjuk proceedings, his testimony would have been exculpatory?

(2) Do you not agree that withholding from the Demjanjuk defense Glazar's statements made to the OSI particularly, but not limited to, his deposition to OSI attorney Norman Moscowitz and his staff in Washington D.C. on 14 October 1979 constitutes a suppression of exculpatory evidence?  And also do you not agree that withholding from the Demjanjuk defense the very existence of Richard Glazar all the more constitutes a suppression of exculpatory evidence?  And finally do you not agree that getting Glazar to promise not to divulge his information to the defense constitutes a most flagrant and cynical suppression of exculpatory evidence?

(3) Do you not agree that the anti-Demjanjuk testimony elicited by the OSI under your direction, but absent from historical Jewish-Holocaust writings, suggests that historians were initially unaware of John Demjanjuk and unaware of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and after the OSI publicized its depiction of John Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, the historians refused to credit this depiction?  And in light of this lack of support from historians, would you not agree that it might be the case that the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka painted by the OSI never existed?

(4) Do you not agree that information such as the above might invite some observers to entertain the hypothesis that the OSI, under your direction, was guilty not merely of the lesser though still egregious crime of framing John Demjanjuk for being the real Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, but rather was guilty of the greater and truly mind-boggling crime of framing John Demjanjuk for being a mythical Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka?

(5) Do you not agree that with accusations such as the above concerning your integrity and your competence mounting, your continued silence stands in danger of inviting the impression that you are guilty as charged, and unable to offer any defense?

(6) Do you not agree that until such time as you succeed in defending yourself against the list of charges that have been levelled against you, your loss of respect in the eyes of Canadian prosecutors might weaken your ability to persuade them to adopt your war-crimes-prosecution methods?


Yours truly,


Lubomyr Prytulak


cc: Anne McLellan



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