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Yoram Sheftel   1994   BKA says Trawniki ID card amateur forgery
"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 amateur forgery." Yoram Sheftel
The passage below is taken from:

Yoram Sheftel,
The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial,
Victor Gollancz, London, 1994.

Yoram Sheftel was John Demjanjuk's Israeli defense attorney.  His book was originally published in Israel in 1993, and was later translated from Hebrew into English by Haim Watzman.  Although this particular edition of Sheftel's book is currently out of print, an American version of the same book, under the title Defending "Ivan the Terrible": The Conspiracy to Convict John Demjanjuk, continues to be available.

The Trawniki Identification Card discussed below will appear upon clicking the link in this sentence.  A comprehensive discussion of the card can be found in the Lubomyr Prytulak letter to Alan Dershowitz of 14-May-2001.

Supporting the account below is a similar one published in the German magazine, Der Spiegel.  Anyone who could provide an English translation of the Stern article would be doing the Ukrainian Archive a great service.


[T]he German 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 amateur forgery.  (pp. 336-337)


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