The following is a translation of an article which appeared in FREE WORD (Svobodnoye Slovo Rusi), volume 28; number 335-336, pp. 17-20.
This article consists of a letter from a Soviet-Jewish historian, Dr. Ruth Okuneva, presently an Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, to the editor of the FREE WORD, followed by a copy of her letter to Yitzak Shamir, the Prime Minister of Israel. At the top of the original article, there was a photograph of John Demjanjuk behind bars, reproduced from the Israeli magazine, MAARIV.
Dr. R. Okuneva's text is as follows:
The above photograph is from the courtroom. It was published in MARRIV [sic], together with a commentary:
Legend under the Photo: IVAN THE TERRIBLE: "To what should I confess?" (Dr. Okuneva notes that there are no quotation marks around this appellation.)
Heading of the Article: Ivan the Terrible cried, "They want to hang me, but I am not guilty."
Subheading: Yesterday, at an open court in Jerusalem the accused said, "I am not Ivan the Terrible. The Israeli community is seeking an execution."
I am sending you this photograph and the Russian text of a letter which was written and mailed by me with the Hebrew version to Israeli Prime Minister Haim Herzog. I am asking you to publish this information. I am also turning to you with a plea. I consider it insufficient to publish this only in the Russian language press. Since I am begging you to help me, or more precisely, this suffering individual, by distributing this letter to all those who can at least raise their voices to his defence. Foreign media are inaccessible to me and I have no other connections.
This is all that I can do to help this man. His compatriots, Ukrainian nationalists, have not helped him. Here not even the voices of our religious leaders were raised in protest. His attorney, enfeebled in the struggle with Israeli "jurisprudence," has already expressed his concern that he may have to drop the defence of this case.
Israel thirst for blood. When an opposition magazine in Israel, AOLYAM AZE — appealing to the public and the howling Israeli press to use common sense and advising the observance of justice and judicial standards in regard to this man, whose crimes have not been proved — published an interview with Demjanjuk, a great storm arose in Israel. Immediately, an investigative commission was created, the goal of which was to discover the channels through which a correspondent of this journal, Daphne Barak, gained access to Demjanjuk, and to punish the guilty party.
This is transpiring at a time when the Israeli Parliament seeks venues to prevent the extradition to France of William Nakash, a criminal and a citizen of that country. He was sentenced by France to a life term for murder, but escaped from justice to Israel, on the territory of which he committed a serious robbery. As a means of argument, the Parliament presents as extenuating circumstances that the murdered victim was an Arab, while the uncle of the "unfortunate" criminal perished in Auschwitz. The Israeli Minister of Justice, Avraham Sharir, declares with shameless outspokenness that, "It is forbidden to give up a Jew to goyim...."
On January 19 (the feast of John the Baptist), a judicial hearing will take place evidently with the purpose of completing the Demjanjuk trial in the shortest period of time and avoiding input from the public at large.
In two or three days, I will forward additional material regarding this case. At present, the above-mentioned circumstances force me not to delay with the material which is ready. I hope that you will take action against this horrible criminal affair. I also hope that you will not "wash your hands" of it....
December 23, 1986