Globe and Mail | Mar. 10, 2004 | Orest Slepokura

Demjanjuk 'evidence'

The Editor:

Len Rudner's March 6, 2004 letter plainly stated that "it was Israel who discovered the evidence" that resulted in John Demjanjuk's acquittal on the charge he was Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka ["The Demjanjuk trial" - Letters]. R. Burstyn translates this to "only" mean Israel "did not hide [such] evidence." Lubomyr Prytulak took issue with the claim that Israel had discovered the exculpatory evidence; words like "discovery" and "discovered" were even hedged by quotation marks to drive home his point. What is "strange" and "curious" here is that R. Burstyn should try to fudge all of this ("Not misinformed" - Globe and Mail Letters, March 10, 2004).

Sincerely yours,

Orest Slepokura
Strathmore AB


Globe and Mail | Mar. 10, 2004 | R. Burstyn

Not misinformed

Thornhill, Ont. -- I read with some concern the letter from Lubomyr Prytulak (March 8, 2004) taking Len Rudner of Canadian Jewish Congress to task for allegedly misinforming readers about the issue of suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.

What strikes me as strange, however, is that, try as I might, I could find no attempt by Mr. Rudner to misinform (The Demjanjuk Trial -- letter, March 6, 2004). Indeed, Mr. Rudner's only point was that Israel did not hide evidence that eventually led to Mr. Demjanjuk's acquittal by the Israeli Supreme Court. In doing so, Mr. Rudner quoted directly from a decision of the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeal to buttress his point.

If Mr. Prytulak wants to take issue with anything, it should be the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeal. That he would point a wrongful, accusing finger at the Canadian Jewish Congress is curious indeed.


Globe and Mail | Mar. 08, 2004 | Lubomyr Prytulak
Letter to Editor

Demjanjuk 'evidence'

Ukrainian Archive
Toronto Globe and Mail
Monday, March 8, 2004 - Page A12

Vancouver -- Len Rudner (The Demjanjuk Trial -- Globe and Mail letter, March 6, 2004) misinforms readers on both his points.

First, there was a massive cover-up of exculpatory evidence. Here is what U.S. judge Gilbert Merritt told Ha'aretz: "Today we know that they -- the OSI, the prosecution in the case and the State Department -- lied through their teeth. Even then they knew without a doubt that Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible, but they hid the information from us. I am sorry that I did not have the information at the time. If I did, we would never have ruled in favour of his extradition to Israel."

Second, the Israelis never discovered any evidence that exculpated John Demjanjuk. What they did do was to respond to overwhelming pressure from many directions to release an obviously innocent Mr. Demjanjuk, and their "discovery" was one that saved them embarrassment.

That is, they "discovered" that Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka was really some other Ukrainian, Ivan Marchenko, who, being dead, was in no position to object.


Note: Len Rudner's March 6 letter to the Globe and Mail was written in the name of the Canadian Jewish Congress. In it, Rudner argued that Israel had, laughably, anxiously looked out for Demjanjuk's best interest all along. Rudner was responding to the Ray Conlogue's review of a "Holocaust cabaret" in which the character of John Demjanjuk was the centrepiece. Conlogue placed Demjanjuk in Sobibor -- not Treblinka -- and suggested he must've been guilty of "something" (jaywalking?), despite his acquittal.


Globe and Mail | Mar. 06, 2004 | Len Rudner

The Demjanjuk trial

director, community relations, Canadian Jewish Congress
Saturday, March 6, 2004 - Page A22

Toronto -- Re Nazi Trial Keeps A Sense Of Humour (Globe and Mail, March 5, 2004): It is not usual for history -- even the Holocaust -- to be presented in a variety of artistic formats. In such a way, new audiences can come to understand events in a manner that may not be accessible via straightforward narration.

That said, playwrights still have an obligation to tell the truth. In Ray Conlogue's review of The Trials of John Demjanjuk, he says that Mr. Demjanjuk's lawyers discovered that the Israeli and U.S. governments had "hidden crucial information proving he was not Ivan [the Terrible]."

This is incorrect. In fact, it was the Israelis who discovered the evidence that eventually led to Mr. Demjanjuk's acquittal. This is borne out in the transcript of the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit, filed on Nov. 17, 1993: "But for the actions of the Israeli prosecutors, the death sentence against Demjanjuk probably would have been carried out by now. . . . The Israeli prosecutors did not learn of the exculpatory evidence from Russia until after the accused was found guilty and sentenced to death in the Israeli trial court. . . . The prosecutors travelled to Russia to investigate the matter thoroughly."

Back in Israel, "in the face of extremely strong popular feelings against the accused, [they] publicly turned it over to the Supreme Court of Israel."