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Yoram Sheftel   Criminal Appeal   25-Apr-1988   Israeli judicial reasoning
"According to this logic, there was no need whatsoever for the Prosecution to bring experts, since it was totally clear that the KGB would not send a forged document to the West." Yoram Sheftel
The two quotations at the bottom of this page are from the Criminal Appeal of the conviction of John Demjanjuk of being the mythical "Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka."  The copy of the Criminal Appeal in possession of the Ukrainian Archive is undated, but must have been written by attorneys Y. Sheftel and P. Chumak some time after the lower-court verdict against John Demjanjuk on 25 April 1988.  Also, it is possible that the copy in possession of the Ukrainian Archive is a draft, and not the final version submitted to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Imagine if the Israeli court which convicted John Demjanjuk of being the mythical "Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka" had been as biased toward acquittal as it in fact was biased toward conviction.  If biased toward acquittal, the court might have reasoned as follows on the question of the authenticity of the "Demjanjuk" signature on the Trawniki ID card:  On the one hand, if the "Demjanjuk" signature on the Trawniki ID card resembled Demjanjuk's known signatures, then this would be evidence that the signature was forged, since the KGB would have attempted to produce such a resemblance, and as the KGB was competent, it would have succeeded.  On the other hand, if the "Demjanjuk" signature failed to resemble Demjanjuk's known signatures, then this too would be evidence that the signature was forged, since it was not plausible that Demjanjuk's signature would have deviated so markedly from the normal on this one occasion.

That is the reasoning that one would have expected if the court had been biased in favor of John Demjanjuk.  In case of such bias, evidence concerning the authenticity of the signature would have become irrelevant, as no matter what the evidence was, it could be interpreted as being consistent with the signature being forged.  To see what the reasoning of the court in fact was, or whether it was any less infantile than the reasoning I have suggested above, please read the two quotations from the Criminal Appeal below.

A comprehensive discussion of the Trawniki Identification Card can be found in the Lubomyr Prytulak letter to Alan Dershowitz of 14-May-2001.

Incidentally, the Israeli lower court used the same reasoning with respect to John Demjanjuk's erroneous height on the Trawniki ID card that the height being in error argued for the card being authentic.

References below to "tav/149" are to the Demjanjuk Trawniki ID card.  All underlining below was in the original.


Thus according to the verdict, the absence of evidence of forgery by a forensic expert in the matter of a document which was in the possession of the KGB, showed that it is authentic, and the presence of such evidence showed also, that it was authentic, since when the KGB forges, it does so in a manner that could not be detected by a forensic expert.  In other words, regardless of what the Appellant's version may be, and what proof he may bring, according to this method, the Honorable Lower Court would always rule against him.   [pp. 195-196]

The Honorable Lower Court determined that the great difference between the letter D in the signature ascribed to the Appellant on tav/149 and all the other letters D appearing in his known signatures, showed that the signature is not forged (p. 366 of the verdict), because the KGB would not forge in such an amateurish manner.  This determination clearly shows that according to the method of the Honorable Lower Court the Appellant had no chance from the beginning of challenging the reliability of tav/149, since had the letter D been similar, it would rule that the signature was authentic, since there was a fit.  When it was proven that it was different, this too was a sign of authenticity, especially because of the difference.  It can be said from now on, that according to this logic, there was no need whatsoever for the Prosecution to bring experts, since it was totally clear that the KGB would not send a forged document to the West, so as not to be embarrassed, however according to the same logic it can be said that the Appellant is innocent, because from 1977 and until 1986 he made no effort to disappear from the United States, even though he had many opportunities to do so.

The stated above clearly demonstrates the failure of the Honorable Lower Court to deal justly with the Appellant.   [pp. 208-209]


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