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xoxol.org | 08Nov2011 | Lubomyr Prytulak

Letter 2 to Alan Ryan Jr., 08Nov2011

Subject:   Re: John Demjanjuk
From:   [email protected]
Date:   08 November 2011 6:47:23 PM PST (CA)
To:   [email protected]

Dear Professor Ryan:


When you devoted Chapter 4 of your Quiet Neighbors to a discussion of the guilt of John Demjanjuk and the authenticity of the Trawniki ID card, you were untroubled by the dubious principle that "the proper forum for [such discussion] is the courtroom."  If the latter is your attitude today, then it is a change of attitude, and a change that might well invite the description "hunkering down in silence".


For which there are several reasons, one being that John Demjanjuk prosecutors have systematically hoodwinked the courts.  Is it not the case, to take an outstanding example, that the world's leading forensic laboratory for evaluating the authenticity of Third Reich documents, the Bundeskriminalamt or BKA, had concluded that the Trawniki ID Card was an "amateur forgery," and is it not true also that the prosecution concealed this BKA opinion from the Israeli court, which court went on to convict John Demjanjuk and sentence him to death?

[T]he German weekly Stern published a shocking revelation on 5 March 1992, proving unmistakably that the Israeli prosecution concealed crucial information about the Travniki document's being a forgery; the Israelis had had the full co-operation of the German police and the Ministry of Justice.  The article states that on 23 January 1987, three weeks before the show-trial began, Superintendent Amnon Bezaleli took the original Travniki document for examination at the German police force's main criminal-identification laboratory in Weisbaden, known by its initials as the BKA.  Bezaleli, it will be remembered, was the head of Israel Police's document-examination laboratory and the prosecution's central witness on the Travniki document.  According to Stern, the BKA, after a cursory examination, told Bezaleli that this was a counterfeit document forged in a more or less amateur way.  The laboratory analysts addressed the following points: the face in the photograph, which the prosecution identified as Demjanjuk's, had been pasted on to the uniform using photomontage techniques; the picture was not originally attached to the card, but had been transferred from another document; there was no match between the seal on the Travniki picture and that on the document itself.  The analysts did not have time to compare Demjanjuk's known signature with the Demjanjuk signature on the Travniki document, but even more serious revelations appear in the rest of the article.  Dr Louis Ferdinand Werner, head of the BKA, informed Bezaleli of the results of the preliminary examination in a private conversation.  Bezaleli consulted people from the state prosecutor's office in Jerusalem, then announced to Werner that all tests on the Travniki document should be halted at once.  Even when Dr Werner told Bezaleli that with the results of further tests, which would take no more than two weeks, he would be able to provide a comprehensive report on the document and its faults, the Israeli position did not change.  Bezaleli took the document and returned to Israel with all due haste.  Dr Werner wrote a memo in the wake of these events, in which he said, "Regarding this case, the experts' doubts will be subordinated to political aspects ... the discovery of true facts in this case is not what is important here."  When Stern's correspondent had presented this information to [Israeli prosecutor] Shaked and asked for his reaction, he made no denial.  "We base ourselves on our experts' opinions and continue to consider them persuasive," he said.  Dr Werner's memo lay hidden for years in a German safe.

So for years Shaked and Bezaleli, with the help of the German authorities, concealed vital information: that the world's most authoritative and reliable body for determining the authenticity of documents from the Third Reich needed only a cursory examination to state unequivocally that the Travniki document was no more than an amateur forgery.

Yoram Sheftel, The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial, Victor Gollancz, London, 1994, pp. 336-337

And so even while knowing that the BKA verdict of forgery had been concealed from the Israeli court, you nevertheless thought it fair to summarize for me in your email that no court has ever doubted the card's authenticity?

And although this particular deception took place while the Trawniki Card was in Israeli hands, is it not fair to ask whether the OSI was party to the deception?  How could you yourself not have known that the card had been submitted to the BKA for evaluation, and how could you not have waited with bated breath for what you prayed would be a BKA confirmation of authenticity, and how could you not have learned that the BKA evaluation was negative, and how could it have come to pass that you were never told that this BKA verdict was being concealed from the defense and from the Israeli court?


The Federal Appeals Panel ruling of 17 Nov 1993 condemns the conduct of OSI attorneys with regard to John Demjanjuk, but with you serving as the director of the OSI, would it not be fair to conclude that the condemnation points primarily at you?

The attitude of the O.S.I attorneys toward disclosing information to Demjanjuk's counsel was not consistent with the Government's obligation to work for justice rather than for a result that favors its attorneys' preconceived ideas of what the outcome of the legal proceedings should be.
We do not believe their personal conviction that they had the right man provided an excuse for recklessly disregarding their obligation to provide information specifically requested by Demjanjuk ... the withholding of which almost certainly misled his counsel and endangered his ability to mount a defense....
The O.S.I. attorneys acted with reckless disregard for their duty to the court and their discovery obligations in failing to disclose at least three sets of documents in their possession before the proceedings against Demjanjuk ever reached trial.
Thus, we hold that the O.S.I. attorneys acted with reckless disregard for the truth and for the Government's obligation to take no steps that prevent an adversary from presenting his case fully and fairly.  This was fraud on the court in the circumstances of this case where, by recklessly assuming Demjanjuk's guilt, they failed to observe their obligation to produce exculpatory materials requested by Demjanjuk.
It is obvious from the record that the prevailing mindset at the O.S.I. was that the office must try to please and maintain very close relationships with various interest groups because their continued existence depended upon it.

The New York Times, November 18, 1993

The personal indictment of yourself that might be inferred from the broad statement above, Israeli defense attorney Yoram Sheftel expresses explicitly below:

HADZEWYCZ:  If you had the opportunity today to speak with the two former directors of the OSI, Allan Ryan ... What would you say to him today?

SHEFTEL:  I would tell him that he is a key player in, in my opinion, the worst cover-up in concealing evidence in a major case taken by an American public prosecutor in modern history after the second world war.

HADZEWYCZ:  And what would you say to his successor, Neal Sher?

SHEFTEL:  Exactly the same.

HADZEWYCZ:  Those two are equally guilty of this cover-up?

SHEFTEL:  I would say Allan Ryan more, because Allan Ryan was in charge of the OSI in August 1978 and through 1981 — this is the key, crucial time of the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute Demjanjuk.  And the decision to prosecute was made by Allan Ryan, who knew that Demjanjuk was not "Ivan the Terrible" and yet he prosecuted him for being "Ivan the Terrible."  Again, I don't know of a major case with such a deliberate cover-up as Allan Ryan, more, and Neal Sher, not much less, are responsible for.

Roma Hadzewycz interviews Yoram Sheftel, The Ukrainian Weekly, July 21, 1996, p. 3

If you wish to defend yourself against the charge of concealing evidence, a good place to start might be to divulge who played the leading role in the OSI concealment of the exculpatory Pilichowski letter.


The most damaging accusation is not that you proceeded with your prosecution of John Demjanjuk despite knowing that he could not have been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  The most damaging accusation is that you proceeded with your prosecution of John Demjanjuk for crimes committed by Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka despite knowing that there never had been any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

You knew this in part because you had closely watched the false, and eventually discredited, conviction of Frank Walus on the basis of wild accusations brought by putative eyewitnesses, accusations such as the following:

[T]he Justice Department had 12 eyewitnesses to his Nazi brutality.  "I will never forget that face," one such witness said. "This is the face who killed an innocent man whose only crime was the fact that he was a Jew."  "Here," said another witness, standing before Walus in the Chicago District courtroom, "sits the murderer."

Another witness testified that after a woman, accompanied by her two daughters, refused to disrobe upon Walus' order, Walus shot the woman in the back of her head and just as quickly killed the two girls.  Testimony of similar character was related by all the other Holocaust survivor eyewitnesses.

Michael Waris Jr., Andrew Fylypovych, and Lidia Boyduy Shandor, The Strange Case of John Demjanjuk: Deceit of the U.S. Justice Department could cause death of innocent man, The Ukrainian Weekly, 01 July 1990

And so, if you did not know it before, the Walus case taught you that a group of putative eyewitnesses could all be lying, even a group as large as twelve, and which opened up the possibility that the group of putative eyewitnesses that levelled similarly wild accusations against John Demjanjuk could all be lying as well.

And the evidence that the Demjanjuk witnesses were lying lay close at hand -- the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka that they described was NOTORIOUS.  You yourself recognize that Ivan the Terrible was the most widely known and vividly remembered thing about Treblinka:

Of all the functionaries at Treblinka, few stood out in the minds of the surviving Jews as clearly as Ivan, the man who operated the gas chamber.  They did not know his last name, of course, but they called him "Ivan Grozny" -- Ivan the Terrible.  He was stocky, with close-cropped blond hair and gray eyes.  And he was brutally strong, capable of wielding a pipe six feet long as a club.  The work-Jews, whose crude barracks were built next to the gas chamber, quickly learned one rule: one did not look into the eyes of Ivan.  The price of that was a swift blow of the iron pipe and a shattered skull.

Allan A. Ryan, Jr., Quite neighbors: prosecuting Nazi war criminals in America, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego New York London, 1984, p. 101

Now -- as I have argued in detail in my BLURB BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN DEMJANJUK, SO FAR at www.xoxol.org/dem/blurb.html -- if this Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka really existed, then all early descriptions of Treblinka would have featured him.  If no early accounts of Treblinka even mentioned him, then it would follow that he didn't exist, that he was a recent invention, that the occasional putative eyewitness who repeated the story was fantasizing, was gaining entry into the coterie of ne'er-do-wells who accrued renown by reciting wacko stories portraying John Demjanjuk as a leading participant in the Holocaust.

Examining your Notes on pp. 367-368 in your book Quiet Neighbors to see what sources you consulted in writing your Chapter 4 on Demjanjuk, I find that the first-mentioned source is Gitta Sereny's Into that Darkness, which you say "is based on Sereny's extensive interviews with the commandant of Treblinka, Franz Stangl, and her own considerable research.  Its historical accuracy is above dispute ..." [p. 368].  It follows, then, that Gitta Sereny should have had much to say about the notorious Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka -- but what you discovered instead as you read Sereny is that she makes no mention of any Ivan the Terrible.  Gitta Sereny, apparently, despite having interviewed the Treblinka commandant in depth, and despite "her own considerable research," had never heard of any such person, and apparently Treblinka commandant Franz Stangl never had either.  Case closed!  There never was any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka!  Remember? -- Ivan the Terrible was NOTORIOUS.  Everyone feared him, everyone talked about him, everyone remembered him.  He was perhaps the greatest killer of WWII, perhaps even the greatest killer in history.  To speak of Treblinka was to recount the deeds of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  If Ivan the Terrible had existed, Franz Stangl would have been especially motivated to describe him because it would have shifted some of the guilt from German to Ukrainian shoulders, some of the guilt from his own shoulders to the shoulders of an outsider who Stangl could claim operated outside his control.  Nevertheless, Franz Stangl does not mention any Ivan the Terrible.  No person of even moderate intelligence could have avoided realizing all this as he read Sereny's book.

And then your very first footnote in Chapter 4, footnote number 1, cites Raul Hilberg's authoritative and monumental, The Destruction of the European Jews.  But in Hilberg's description of Treblinka you again found no mention of any Ivan the Terrible.  But if this Ivan existed, Raul Hilberg could not possibly have overlooked him.  Same case closed a second time.

Glancing over at your Chapter 5 notes, I see that you've also read Nora Levin's The Holocaust.  Need I say that I know what you found about Ivan the Terrible in that weighty tome?  Yes, you found nothing!  Nora Levin has not heard of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka either, at least not heard anything believable, not anything that she cares to repeat in her book.  And in the Chapter 5 notes I see also that you cite Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and so I conclude that you have noted in Shirer's discussion of Treblinka no mention of any Ivan the Terrible either.

But back to your notes on Demjanjuk Chapter 4 -- I see further that you also read Jean-Francois Steiner's Treblinka.  Same thing yet again -- you discover that the unforgettable monster Ivan the Terrible seems to have been forgotten by Steiner as well.  You cite also Konnilyn Feig's Hitler's Death Camps.  I have that book too, and so I can tell you what you yourself found out -- Feig joins the very long list of Holocaust experts who have never seen any evidence that would induce them to credit the idea of an Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

No doubt at all remains: the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka is a lie.  Lies can kill.  Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka is a murder weapon manufactured to kill John Demjanjuk, just as the Butcher of Kielce had been a murder weapon manufactured to kill Frank Walus.  And no doubt remains also that you learned at the very outset of your reading that the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka was a lie, but that you nevertheless resolutely pushed ahead on a path that some might describe as lynching for the purpose of career advancement.

Yours very truly,
Lubomyr Prytulak

From:   [email protected]
Subject:   RE: John Demjanjuk
Date:   07 November 2011 12:19:11 PM PST (CA)
To:   [email protected]

Dear Mr. Prytulak:

I have never “hunker[ed] down in silence,” as you put it, concerning the Demjanjuk case or my role in it.  But I am not going to debate the forensic details of the Trawniki card.  The proper forum for that is the courtroom, where both sides in this litigation have presented evidence in three countries for thirty years.  No judge has yet found any credence to claims that the card is false, altered, doctored, or a KGB plot.  Nor is there any credence to your allegation that I or the US Department of Justice conspired to present false evidence.

Yours truly,
Allan Ryan