Gulf Times | 15Apr2010 | AFP

Court expert says ‘Nazi guard’ identity card authentic

The SS identity card of 90-year-old alleged former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk is “authentic,” an independent expert told his trial in Germany yesterday [Wednesday 14Apr2010].

“You couldn’t reproduce something like this, even with state-of-the-art machinery,” expert Anton Dallmayer told the court in Munich, after comparing the card with three others believed to be genuine.

[W.Z.  The XoXoL and MoZeus websites convincingly demonstrate that none of the 4 Trawniki ID cards are authentic.]

“In conclusion I would say that distinguishing features on the ID card in question match those on the other ID cards, and that therefore all in all it can be considered as authentic.”

In what is set to be one of the last cases of its kind, Demjanjuk has been on trial since November, charged with helping murder 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.

With no witnesses able to say they could remember Demjanjuk, the ID card is the prosecution’s only piece of concrete evidence it says links him to Sobibor. Demjanjuk denies the charges and says the document is a forgery.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk says that he was taken prisoner by the Germans as a Red Army soldier, but he denies accusations that he was one of thousands on non-Germans who then volunteered [were coerced?] to work for the Nazis.

“I find it an unbearable injustice that Germany is trying to make me, a prisoner of war, into a war criminal with this trial,” he said in a statement read by Busch on Tuesday in court.

The prosecution say the SS identity card proves he was at the SS Trawniki training camp for guards and that he was transferred to Sobibor.

Dallmayer conceded that “in theory” the three ID cards with which it was compared could also be forgeries, saying only that he was only able to determine that all four cards were made by the same machine.

Demjanjuk’s lawyer Ulrich Busch on Thursday rejected Dallmayer’s testimony. [W.Z. Dr. Busch complained to the court that the news media misreported the gist of Wednesday's testimony on the Trawniki ID card to the general public. The chief judge agreed with Mr. Busch.]

He said that the three comparative cards, which were provided by the US, had been chosen “on the basis of deliberate criteria” - precisely because they resembled his client’s document.

Busch said that a fifth document existed which had different distinguishing features and which prosecutors had deliberately not made available to the expert.

But Dallmayer was unimpressed, saying that this document had most likely been produced in a different batch. [W.Z. So is Dallmayer familiar with these other versions of the Trawniki ID card? Was he testifying in bad faith?]

“If I had compared that one with Demjanjuk’s, I would have said that I cannot compare apples with pears,” he said.

Demjanjuk was previously sentenced to death in Israel of being “Ivan the Terrible”, a particularly sadistic death camp guard at Treblinka, another camp, but the Israeli Supreme Court established they had the wrong man.

The defendant’s family says he is suffering from a litany of health complaints and will likely not survive the trial. He was deported by the US last year.

Doctors have judged him fit to stand trial but limited the time he is in court. Several sessions have been postponed after Demjanjuk complained of pain or dizziness.