May 27, 1998
Neal M. Sher
Schmeltzer, Aptaker & Shepard, P.C.
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW
Dear Mr. Sher:
I call to your attention a discrepancy between the testimony of Heinrich Schaefer concerning the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID card as this testimony is summarized by you and as it is presented by Schaefer himself.
The Neal Sher depiction of Heinrich Schaefer's testimony
Your depiction of Heinrich Schaefer's testimony has him unequivocally defending the authenticity of the Trawniki ID card. My information comes from an undated draft of a letter from you to Mr. Sol Littman. To identify the draft and place it in context, I reproduce its very beginning and very end, and excerpt only the relevant passage in between:
Mr. Sol Littman
Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center For Holocaust Studies
8 King Street East, Suite 204
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1B5 Canada
Re: John (Iwan, Ivan) Demjanjuk
Dear Mr. Littman:
Thank you for your letter of March 24, 1986.
The testimony of Dr. Scheffler regarding Demjanjuk's Trawniki card was corroborated by the trial deposition of Heinrich Schaefer, a post-war citizen and resident of West Germany. Schaefer, a Soviet soldier captured by German forces and taken to Trawniki on August of 1941, served there as a paymaster for Ukrainian guards. Schaefer was shown a copy of Demjanjuk's Trawniki card and testified that it was an official I.D. card issued to all the persons training at Trawniki, and that he himself had been issued such an I.D. card. Schaefer also identified the signature of Streibel, the camp commandant, since Streibel had often signed his leave passes. Finally, Schaefer testified that the reverse side of Demjanjuk's identity card bore both the official seal of the SS unit assigned to Trawniki and the signature of Ernst Teufel, the SS private first class who directed the dispensing of clothing here.
I hope that this letter provides you with the information on the Demjanjuk case which you requested. Thank you for your interest in the work of the OSI.
Neal M. Sher
Office of Special Investigations
1377 K Street, N.W., Suite 195
Washington, D.C. 20005
A statement by Heinrich Schaefer himself
Contrasting with your depiction of Heinrich Schaefer as having authenticated the Trawniki ID card is an affidavit sworn by Heinrich Schaefer himself, a copy of which I have enclosed. The several extracts below from Mr. Shaefer's affidavit demonstrate that he rejects the Trawniki ID card as decidedly inauthentic:
There never was issued an identification paper to a guard, which at the same time contained a list of objects which were received by him.
The list of equipment for guards always contained the carbine which was issued to the guard and its number.
It is completely unimaginable that there was no carbine given to a guard, as that was, to a certain extent, his right arm, without which he could not perform his duty.
This document cannot have been issued in Trawniki.
Official transfers were never recorded on identification documents.
The date of issuance had to be on every identification card, otherwise such a paper was automatically invalid.
A card such as the one which was shown to me and which shows the name Iwan Demjanjuk twice, was never issued by me. I know of no such cards.
During my previous questioning before the U.S. Consul I was never asked my opinion about the authenticity of the "Demjanjuk card". I did declare, that I never saw a card like that one during my service in Trawniki and assumed that the affidavit was sufficient.
From the above, it would seem that either Heinrich Schaefer's testimony is characterized by astonishing self-contradiction, or your depiction of his testimony has been characterized by astonishing misrepresentation. To Canadians who continue to doubt your suitability as an adviser to Canadian war crimes prosecutors, the clearing up of the above discrepancy is a matter of some importance. If you were able to supply documentation in support of your contention that Heinrich Schaefer had indeed authenticated the Trawniki ID card, then at least this one cause of concern would be removed.
cc: Anne McLellan
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