Boston Globe | 16Jun2010 | Andrea M. Jarach (AP)

Ex-Nazi camp official did not remember Demjanjuk

MUNICH -- A former administrator in a Nazi SS training camp told investigators [in 1987] that a camp ID card being used as evidence against John Demjanjuk appeared genuine, but that he did not remember Demjanjuk himself from the facility, according to evidence presented Wednesday [16Jun2010].

[W.Z. Why is the Munich court allowing hearsay evidence from the Israeli prosecution and the OSI, which perpetrated fraud on the court to obtain the denaturalization of Mr. Demjanjuk in 1981 and his extradition to Israel in 1986?]

Helmut Leonhardt, a former Cologne police officer who was sent to work in Trawniki training camp's personnel office in 1942, told Israeli investigators in 1987 that he recognized the SS officers' signatures on the Trawniki ID card that prosecutors say belonged to Demjanjuk and allegedly shows he has served time in the Sobibor death camp.

Demjanjuk denies having been in either camp, saying he is the victim of mistaken identity. His defense team has argued that the ID card is a Soviet fake.

The 90-year-old retired Ohio autoworker faces a possible 15 years in prison if convicted in the Munich state court of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder -- the number of people believed to have been killed in Sobibor during the time when Demjanjuk was allegedly there.

In the interrogation in Cologne in 1987, conducted by German authorities for Israeli investigators who were present, Leonhardt said the ID cards were not made by his office. But, he said, the one that prosecutors maintain belonged to Demjanjuk looked like others he had seen.

Leonhardt, who the court said is now dead, acknowledged testifying in a 1968 trial that he knew nothing of the ID cards. But he said he had only been shown a photocopy of the inside of the card then, and that in 1987 he had been shown photographs of the whole document.

[W.Z. Isn't it strange that so many of the people interrogated in the Demjanjuk case initially denied knowledge of the "evidence" that the OSI or Israeli prosecutors wanted corroborated, but after a certain period of "persuasion"and "suggestion" eventually "remember" the appropriate response.]

Still, he said, he could not testify whether Demjanjuk was ever at the camp, saying there were thousands of guards trained there.

"The name Demjanjuk means nothing to me," he told investigators in 1987.

Demjanjuk had his U.S. citizenship revoked in 1981 after the Justice Department alleged he hid his past as the notorious Treblinka guard "Ivan the Terrible." He was extradited to Israel, where he was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1988, only to have the conviction overturned five years later as a case of mistaken identity.

He was deported to Germany in May 2009 from the U.S., and has been standing trial since November 30, 2009 on allegations he was a guard at Sobibor, a different camp in occupied Poland.

The court this week scheduled more dates for the trial, through Dec. 22, 2010.