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UABA I   Ukrainian Weekly   17-Jun-1990   60 Minutes finds Maria Dudek, OSI suppresses Pilichowski letter
For an outline of other key weaknesses in the case against John Demjanjuk, the reader should not fail to also read at least UABA II and UABA III, whose links can be found at the very top of this page, as well as at the very bottom, not to mention within this sentence.


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The strange case of John Demjanjuk

Deceit of U.S. Justice Department could cause death of innocent man


In this issue The Ukrainian Weekly is publishing the first installment of a statement by the Ukrainian American Bar Association regarding the John Demjanjuk case.  The UABA statement was sent, prior to the beginning on May 14 of the presentation of Mr. Demjanjuk's appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel, to each member of the Israeli Knesset, each U.S. senator and representative and to over 600 members of the media worldwide.

Although the formal argument of the appeal will soon be completed, the UABA statement has continuing importance for at least the following reasons:

  1. For the first time in public print a number of facts crucial to the Demjanjuk defense are disclosed.

  2. These same facts demonstrate with great specificity to what extent the Justice Department of the United States has engaged in unconstitutionally unfair, deceitful and outright criminal action (subornation of perjury) just to win a case.

  3. The UABA statement clearly brings out the political pressure under which the OSI labored throughout the Demjanjuk denaturalization, deportation and extradition proceedings and continued to assist in the Israeli war crimes trial, although it had no legal authority or duty to do so.

  4. The UABA statement will help to clarify and counter a number of inaccurate and untrue allegations circulating throughout the Ukrainian community, seriously disrupting the defense team in its critical last-minute preparation of its appeal, and causing great emotional distress to the entire Demjanjuk family.

The authors of this UABA statement are Michael Waris Jr., chairman of the board of governors, Andrew Fylypovych, president, and Lidia Boyduy Shandor, former recording secretary.

PART I

The Ukrainian American Bar Association is a small group of American lawyers who are very concerned that an American citizen, John Demjanjuk, has been illegally stripped of his citizenship, deported, extradited to Israel, tried, convicted and sentenced to hang as a Nazi war criminal, despite the fact that he is an innocent man.

Fortunately for Mr. Demjanjuk, who has always maintained that he has been mistakenly identified as "Ivan the Terrible" of Treblinka, remarkable revelations since his sentencing have caused the Supreme Court of Israel wisely to defer the argument of his appeal to May 14.  A few weeks remain to rectify what could be a horrible miscarriage of justice, a permanent black mark on the honor of American and Israeli law.

We have spent much time studying the facts and legal proceedings in which Mr. Demjanjuk has been involved over the past 12 years.  We have tried to assist an impoverished defense to fight against great odds.  Frankly, now the defense needs more help than we can give it.  This is an urgent and candid appeal to everyone who prizes justice, in particular the media and various governmental authorities who are especially equipped, at this late date, to assist an unjustly accused human being who is facing death.

For reasons which we find difficult to fathom, perhaps because of the unsavory nature of the issue and the universal hatred for the Nazis and the horror which they have perpetrated on the world much, indeed most, of the media has stayed away from the defense aspects of the case, despite constant pleas from John Demjanjuk's family and other supporters.  In fact, we have not seen any serious investigative reporting focusing on the merits until the CBS News program, "60 Minutes," aired on February 25, more than 12 years after legal proceedings first began.

As a result of its ability to engage in on-location investigation in Poland (an area until very recent days closed to Demjanjuk's defense), "60 Minutes" revealed the explosive news: A Polish woman, Maria Dudek, told a sordid war story indicating that her husband, having accepted money, forced her to sleep with "Ivan the Terrible," who would venture into the village for drunken revelry.  This same woman disclosed a critically important fact to "60 Minutes" Ivan the Terrible's real name was Ivan Marczenko!  Until this disclosure, no one connected with Treblinka had ever spoken "Ivan the Terrible's" real name.  He was simply known by his first name, Ivan.

Mrs. Dudek's disclosure of "Ivan the Terrible's" last name might have meant little in itself.  But, another fact disclosed by "60 Minutes" makes it of great importance in proving the real identity of "Ivan the Terrible."  "60 Minutes" was informed by the Polish Ministry of Justice's Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland that its archives contained a list of guards at Treblinka, among whom was one named Iwan Marczenko.  With this second item of vital information, of course, Maria's declaration that Iwan Marczenko was known to her and others in her village as "Ivan the Terrible" of Treblinka takes on great importance.

The foregoing archives of the Polish Ministry of Justice (Polish Archives) are a respected and highly important source of evidence of Nazi crimes in Poland.  To this very day, however, they have remained closed to Demjanjuk's defense team.  Compounding the difficulties the defense has had to face in this respect is the fact that these Polish Archives have always been freely available to the United States Department of Justice and the Israeli government.

Significantly, the Department of Justice has described the work of the foregoing Polish Commission to be thorough and impartial, its records voluminous.  Indeed, Allan Ryan, then director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation (OSI), largely as a result of his personal review of these Polish Archives, decided that all charges against an earlier OSI target, Frank Walus, should be dropped because of the absence of Mr. Walus's name from these archival records as well as the fact that there were no allegations against Mr. Walus or anybody for whom Mr. Walus could have been mistaken in these records.  These facts were enough to convince even Mr. Ryan that the 12 eyewitnesses who had testified to seeing Mr. Walus perform Nazi atrocities had erred.  As Mr. Ryan reported to Michael Arndt, The Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1984:

[The absence of data regarding Walus in the Polish Archives] by itself is significant.  It's like the old cliche of the watchdog that didn't bark.  If a person had been involved in the SS or the Gestapo, there certainly would have been some mention of him.  [Emphasis added]

Another fact of major importance reported by "60 Minutes" is that the very name Polish Archives upon which the Justice Department placed so much reliance in the Walus case did not contain the name of John Demjanjuk; indeed, as discussed below, they explained precisely as they did in the case of Mr. Walus that "we do not have any data concerning Iwan Demjanjuk..." [emphasis added].

But here's the real shocker: This was not news to the Department of Justice.  Long before the denaturalization trial began in February of 1981, the Justice Department had received from the same Polish Archives information identical to that which had caused it to drop the Walus case.  This time, however, the Justice Department buried this highly exculpatory evidence and proceeded to fabricate a case against Mr. Demjanjuk.

This reprehensible disdain for constitutional due process on the part of the United States Department of Justice demands a more expanded and specific exposition.  On August 31, 1979, the Justice Department received a letter from this very same Polish Commission which said, as above noted, that it did not have any data concerning John Demjanjuk.

Since the commission's job was to investigate Nazi crimes throughout Poland, the absence from these records of Mr. Demjanjuk's name, or any other data regarding him, is very strong evidence indeed that Mr. Demjanjuk, as he has consistently maintained, was never a collaborator at any Nazi camp in Poland (Treblinka, Sobibor, Trawniki, etc.) or otherwise.  As Mr. Ryan said with respect to Mr. Walus, if Mr. Demjanjuk "had been involved in the SS or the Gestapo [or any other Nazi activities] there certainly would have been some mention of him."

Why was such evidence sufficient, in Mr. Ryan's opinion, to exonerate Mr. Walus and yet, as a matter of basic fairness, was not even revealed to the defense team in the Demjanjuk denaturalization case?  Indeed (regardless of any technical and attenuated legal arguments that the Justice Department might have advanced for withholding the document), why did the department go so far as to refuse to produce the document when the defense asked for it under the Freedom of Information Act?

Moreover, when it finally (in 1986) did release a portion of the 1979 letter of the Polish Commission, in ostensible response to its obligation under the Freedom of Information Act, the Justice Department blocked out the paragraph that specifically exonerated Demjanjuk.  (Only the fortuitous receipt of a complete copy of the letter from counsel for another defendant revealed the critically exculpatory Demjanjuk evidence.)

Nothing can more vividly reveal the arrogance and seriousness of the deceit on the part of the Justice Department than to let the reader see for himself exactly what was done.  Moreover, the withheld exculpatory evidence was not buried in hundreds of pages of complex documents; it was contained in one short paragraph of a one-page letter.  Its importance to the defense (particularly after Walus) was thus extremely clear to the Department of Justice and starkly isolated.


The letter from the Polish Archives reads in its entirely as follows: The following is the letter which the defense received in 1986, after being forced to sue the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act to get it:


                MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
                MAIN COMMISSION
                INVESTIGATING NAZI CRIMES
                IN POLAND

                L.dz. Zh. III/4410/35/78

                WARSAW, August 31, 1979
                Aleje Ujazdowskie 11.


Mr. Martin Medelsohn
US. Department of Justice
Office of Special Investigations
Criminal Division
1375 K Street, N.W., 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 28603
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20005

Dear Sir!

                MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
                MAIN COMMISSION
                INVESTIGATING NAZI CRIMES
                IN POLAND

                L.dz. Zh. III/4410/35/78

                WARSAW, August 31, 1979
                Aleje Ujazdowskie 11.


Mr. Martin Medelsohn
US. Department of Justice
Office of Special Investigations
Criminal Division
1375 K Street, N.W., 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 28603
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20005

Dear Sir!
     With reference to your letter of July 27, 1979, 146-2-47, the Main Commission Investigating Nazi Crimes in Poland wishes to inform you that we do not have any data concerning Iwan Demjanjuk, Liudas Kairys and Vladas Zajanckauskas. [deleted]
     Enclosed we are forwarding to you the information concerning Trawnik it is a copy of an article from the "Hitler Camps on the Polish Soil 1939-1945," Warsaw 1979, p. 523 as well as the XXVI-th volume of the Bulletin of the Main Commission Investigating Nazi Crimes in Poland, Warsaw, 1975, with the article about Treblinka by Stanislav Wojtczak.


                Respectfully
     Enclosed we are forwarding to you the information concerning Trawnik it is a copy of an article from the "Hitler Camps on the Polish Soil 1939-1945," Warsaw 1979, p. 523 as well as the XXVI-th volume of the Bulletin of the Main Commission Investigating Nazi Crimes in Poland, Warsaw, 1975, with the article about Treblinka by Stanislav Wojtczak.


                Respectfully
                Director
                Prof. Dr. Czeslaw Pilichowski
[deleted]


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