James Traficant   Congressional Record   02-Aug-1989   This case stinks
Vol. 135 WASHINGTON, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 1989 No. 107

Congressional Record



Mr. TRAFICANT.  Mr. Speaker, today I bring a matter of grave concern to the attention of the entire House.  I have risen twice before to express my concern over the case of John Demjanjuk.  Today I present documented evidence of wrongdoing on the behalf of our U.S. Government.

In 1981, John Demjanjuk, a Cleveland auto-worker was stripped of his United States citizenship and extradited to Israel to stand trial for Nazi war crimes.  Mr. Demjanjuk was accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," operator of the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp.  Ivan was responsible for the death of almost 900,000 Jews.

I am in possession of original interview reports from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations [OSI], relative to the matter of John Demjanjuk.  The original documents were found in the trash near the OSI offices on K Street in Washington, DC.

On November 14, 1979 the Office of Special Investigations interviewed Otto Horn, a former Nazi prison guard whose testimony was to become a cornerstone in the case against John Demjanjuk.  Present at the meeting were Bernard J. Dougherty, George W. Garand, and prosecutor Norman Moscovitz.  The documents that were found in the garbage on K Street are memos sent by Dougherty and Garand to Arthur Sinai, Deputy Director of OSI concerning the November 14 meeting.

The information in these memos is directly contradictory to the testimony presented by Otto Horn, under questioning by Norman Moscowitz, in the denaturalization trial of John Demjanjuk.  This gross neglect of the truth by the prosecution is magnified when the circumstances surrounding the documents is known.

An April 1987 Freedom on Information Act [FOIA] case brought by the family of John Demjanjuk successfully required the Office of Special Investigations to turn over all papers relating to the case of John Demjanjuk.  Apparently, the OSI decided to withhold some information, ignoring a court order to turn over the documents and choosing instead to dump them in a garbage can on K Street.

I recall the comments made by Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer in the April 22, 1987 hearing in the FOIA case of Edward Nishnic versus Department of Justice, that Judge Oberdorfer "would be embarrassed for the United States if this trial in Israel came to a conclusion and sometime in the future historians discovered that there was exculpatory material that was within the reach of the power of this court, and was in the possession of the Department of Justice which was not produced in a timely way."  It seems to me that Judge Oberdorfer's fears may one day become a reality if we do not take some action.

I have officially requested an investigation into the actions of the Office of Special Investigations.  I have also asked that the Justice Department begin an in house review of the OSI by their own Office of Professional Responsibility.

This case stinks.  John Demjanjuk is presently awaiting his appeal before the Supreme Court of Israel.  He faces a death sentence unless quick action is taken.  I do not know whether John Demjanjuk is Ivan the Terrible.  If he is, I believe that he should die.  At this time, however, I have serious doubts as to his guilt.  One thing I know for sure, the truth must come out.

The Israeli people are not to blame.  Our Government may have misled them.  If Ivan the Terrible still lives, he may not be the man in a prison cell in Israel pending appeal.  He may be somewhere on the Riviera breathing a sigh of relief.

History cannot show America to be so insensitive, and certainly not allow an agency of our Government to violate the due process rights of an American.

Mr. Speaker, when the rights of one American are violated, the rights of the rest are endangered.  I suggest that we find out the truth in this matter, not just for John Demjanjuk, but for all Americans.