KGB altered Trawniki ID card
Two weeks into the trial, Mr. Epstein was recalled to the stand only to admit that this Russian-supplied evidence had been intentionally altered by Moscow and that he was aware of those alterations before the trial!
The present page contributes further information concerning the Trawniki ID card which constituted the sole documentary evidence against John Demjanjuk, both during his extradition proceedings in the United States, and in his two trials in Israel. The Ukrainian Archive index of documents concerning the Trawniki Identification Card can be accessed through the link in the present sentence. A comprehensive discussion of the card can be found in the Lubomyr Prytulak letter to Alan Dershowitz of 14-May-2001.
The passage below which is the focus of the present discussion is taken from a document consisting of a title page followed by 14 pages of text that was given to me by an individual who had been involved in the defense of John Demjanjuk. The title page states: Trial of John Demjanjuk Before the International Tribunal, International Military Trial, Israel, Jerusalem, 1986. On pages 1 and 14, the document narrows the date to December 1986. No author is acknowledged.
One section of this document headed "Confronting the Bear", falling on pp. 9-10, is reproduced below because it throws further light on the Trawniki ID card. The section reproduced is brief and lacks detail and specificity, but may be valuable nevertheless in that it lists people who, or documents which, would be able to provide just such detail and specificity concerning the Trawniki ID card, and more particularly concerning the possibility that the card had been altered by the KGB, that this alteration had been acknowledged by the KGB, and that Soviet and Israeli and even US Office of Special Investigations (OSI) officials had been aware of these alterations and of this acknowledgement.
The people identified, then, are: (1) Buffalo defense attorney Mark J. O'Connor; (2) one-time First Secretary and Consul of the USSR, Valeriy G. Kubanov; (3) an unnamed associate of Mr. O'Connor who witnessed the meeting with Mr. Kubanov; and (4) OSI document examiner Gideon Epstein.
The documents which would help to throw light on the Trawniki ID card are: (1) court transcripts capturing the admission by Gideon Epstein that the KGB had altered the Trawniki ID card and that he had been aware of this alteration before testifying in court; (2) a sworn deposition by Mr. O'Connor, submitted to the FBI, detailing the meeting between himself and his associate, and Mr. Kubanov; and (3) the FBI report concerning its investigation into the charges levelled by Mr. O'Connor that the card had been altered by the KGB and that US prosecutors had been aware of this alteration.
Although the Ukrainian Archive, working only part-time and on a zero budget, does not have the resources to interview the above individuals or to obtain copies of the above documents, it may be useful nevertheless to draw attention to their existence so as to facilitate the work of future researchers who, with more adequate resources, may be able to more fully clarify the nature of the Trawniki ID card, and more generally of the entire Demjanjuk affair. Limited resources similarly do not permit the publication on the Ukrainian Archive of this entire anonymous document which contains much other helpful material.
One of the incongruities that further investigation might help clarify is why a Soviet official would confess to John Demjanjuk's defense attorney that the Trawniki ID card had been altered by the KGB.
The underlining shown below appears in the original document.
CONFRONTING THE BEAR
Following the sworn testimony of the defense's two independent forensic documents experts that John Demjanjuk's "Trawniki I.D. Card" was a fraud, the defense determined to confront the Russians with the proof of the conspiracy against Justice.
Flying to Washington, without prior notice, Attorney O'Connor proceeded directly to the Embassy of the U.S.S.R., accompanied by an associate acting as a witness. After a brief discussion at the gates of the Soviet diplomatic mansion, Mr. O'Connor was permitted entry onto Soviet soil.
The First Secretary and Consul of the U.S.S.R. received Mr. O'Connor and his associate in a private room, deep inside the Russian compound. First Secretary Valeriy G. Kubanov greeted Mr. O'Connor warmly until he discovered that the man permitted entry was not the man expected. (Another lawyer with the same last name had had an appointment with Secretary Kubanov later that afternoon, which was the sole reason that John Demjanjuk's defense counsel gained entrance to the top security Embassy grounds.)
After regaining composure, the representative of the Soviet Union inquired as to the purpose of Mr. O'Connor's visit. He was informed that it pertained to the case of John Demjanjuk. Mr. Kubanov indicated that he was quite familiar with the case. When asked specifically about the authenticity of the Soviet-source "I.D. Card" evidence, Mr. Kubanov stated that the key identification evidence supplied by Moscow had been intentionally altered. Further he offered that the alterations had been done before the "Trawniki I.D. Card" evidence was sent to the OSI through diplomatic channels and that the OSI was fully aware of the alterations. (A review of the testimony of Gideon Epstein, the sole OSI documents expert introduced at the denaturalization hearing, is quite revealing in this regard. Mr. Epstein, when first placed on the stand, swore that the Soviet-source "Trawniki I.D. Card" evidence (Govt's Exh. 5 & 6) was unaltered. Two weeks into the trial, Mr. Epstein was recalled to the stand only to admit that this Russian-supplied evidence had been intentionally altered by Moscow and that he was aware of those alterations before the trial! Judge Battisti casually overlooked the Russian documentary deception and OSI's role in it, thus furthering the fraud.)
Immediately following the meeting with Mr. Kubanov in the Soviet Embassy, Mr. O'Connor filed a sworn affidavit outlining Mr. Kubanov's statements with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An immediate investigation of the Soviet fraud and the role of the OSI and the Court in that fraud was requested. Now, almost two and a half years later, the findings of that investigation have yet to be released. A lawsuit has recently been filed to obtain those findings.