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1988    Verdict in State of Israel v Ivan (John) Demjanjuk
First posted on  xoxol.org  23 Jan 2010, last revised 25 Jan 2010

The Verdict section concerning Ivan the Terrible falls on pp. 170-184 which are the pages reproduced below.  The version of the Verdict relied upon is the one released upon the Israeli court's announcing its decision on 18 Apr 1988 rather than the edited version that was published considerably later.

 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         Title





STATE OF ISRAEL

Vs.

IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK



VERDICT


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         Detail



Criminal Case No. 373/86

IN THE JERUSALEM DISTRICT COURT

With a special bench in terms of the Courts Act (Offenses

carrying the death penaty), 5721 1961.

Before the Honorable Judges:

Dov Levin, Judge of the Supreme Court.

Zvi A. Tal.

Dalia Dorner.

State of Israel

Vs.

Ivan (John) Demjanjuk

Appearing on Behalf of the Prosecution:

State Attorney, Adv. Yona Blatman.

In Charge of Criminal Matters n the State Attorney's Office of

the Jerusalem District, Adv. Michael Shaked.

Deputy State Attorney in the Central District, Adv. Michael Horowitz.

Senior Assistant of the Jerusalem District Attorney, Adv. Dafna Boynwell.



Appearing on Behalf of the Defense:

Attorney (USA) John Gill.

Adv. Yoram Sheftel.

Attorney (Canada) Paul Chumak.

Attorney (USA) Mark O'Connor.


VERDICT


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 170



such a pass, that when he heard about the brutalities of the guardsmen, he demanded that they should not be returned to the training camp lest it interfere with discipline there.

These acts of brutality were the daily lot of the victims and the Jewish forced laborers.  It seems unbelievable that such sadism could exist, but when these things were clearly heard from the witnesses on the witness stand who recounted the events to the court with fluency and emotion, one is absolutely convinced that these experiences are anchored deep in their consciousness, the horror is with them constantly, the scenes are fresh in their vision and the stories authentic and accurate.  They didn't recount everything, they were not given the opportunity to tell the whole story because the pages are too short.

33.  Ivan the Terrible

As it has been previously emphasized, the Ukrainian guards in the Treblinka extermination camp co-operated fully with the German Nazi Command in promoting the extermination process.  It is doubtful whether they would have been able to achieve their criminal aim on such a large scale and with such vigor without this support.  However, there was one Ukrainian who was especially conspicuous among all the Ukrainian collaborators because of his brutality, his criminal actions, his enthusiasm and his ardor to assist the Germans in the execution of the extermination and his name was Ivan.


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 171



This Ukrainian guardsman imposed terror on the Jewish forced laborers in the camp and severely castigated them and the unfortunate victims.  He was their nightmare.  For this reason, he was nicknamed "Ivan Grozni", namely Ivan the Terrible.

His principal and basic duty was to supply the death gas to the gas chambers after the victims had been forcibly pressed and crowded into them, and to attend to the motor.  A crew of three was allotted to this operation of supplying the gas and operating the large motor which produced the carbon monoxide gas.  The commander was a German named Schmidt, and there were two Ukrainians, Ivan Grozni, as already mentioned, and another called Nikolai.  Of these two Ukrainians, who were closely associated with the Germans, the dominant character, not only in his external appearance but mainly due to this brutality was Ivan.  He himself would generally operate the motor and supply the gas.

We learn about this from the research conducted by the witness Dr. Arad on the subject of Treblinka (pages 202, 345 of the protocol), and also from the testimony of all the survivors who testified in court, and also from the statement of the camp commander Stengel (exhibit Tav/6) and from answers given by Fiodor Federenko (whom we shall discuss later) to questionnaires submitted to him during the course of the trial against him in the United States for the abrogation of his citizenship (exhibit Tav/209).


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 172



Ivan, together with Nikolai, did not content themselves with supplying the gas to the gas chambers, but were accustomed to take up positions at the side of the 'schlauch', the path on which the victims were led to the gas chambers, near the entrance to the gas chambers, and there, they would prod the Jews to enter the "showers", namely the gas chambers, more speedily.  They would accompany this by striking them with implements of destruction, daggers, iron bars or whips.

When the gas chambers were completely filled with victims, they would forcibly press the last ones into them by beating and stabbing them, and then lock the doors leading from the corridor of the building and seal them.  Then Ivan would got to the motor room, start up the motor and supply the death gas.  This was the routing of Ivan's brutal duty, but, as already mentioned, he was possessed with a sort of ardor and murder lust to kill, destroy, exterminate and brutally assault his victims.

The page is too short to describe all the terrible deeds perpetrated by Ivan the Terrible, but since the essence of this trial is the murderous action of that same Ivan the Terrible, in respect of which the defendant was indicted and accused of all the items listed on the charge sheet before us, it wold be right and proper to describe a small portion of the acts of horror which the same Ivan the Terrible perpetrated in the Treblinka extermination camp during 1942-1943.


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 173



It should be stated here, that in terms of the charge sheet Ivan the Terrible, to whom all these terrible actions are attributed, is the defendant, who is standing trial, and whose name is Ivan John Demjanjuk, who was extradited by the United States authorites to Israel at her request, so that he could be put on trial, in Israel, for all those crimes described below (the name John was added to the defendant's name in the United States).  The prosecution maintains that it has proved, with the degree of certainty demanded in a criminal trial, that Ivan Grozni of Treblinka is the defendant in this trial he, and no other.  We shall discuss this in detail later.  At the moment, let us go back and describe the crimes and murderous acts of Ivan Grozni of Treblinka.

The witness Pinchas Epstein, one of the survivors of the Treblinka extermination camp, who was in close proximity with Ivan for an extended period, describes a tiny portion of his terrible deeds in his testimony, and we shall quote a portion of them, as these actions were portrayed in his testimony (pages 489-490 of the protocol):

"...  We were compelled to carry corpses, and this was done to the accompaniment of blows, at a running pace.  After we had finished removing all the bodies from nearyby the gas chambers, they ordered us to sit down.   In the meantime, they would put new victims into the gas chambers.  We heard terrible screams, sobbing, it was unbelievable.  I sat down at a place from where I could see the motor for the gas chambers, and I would


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 174



see a man who had entered the room, coming out.  Afterwards I learnt that his name was Ivan.  Ivan the Terrible.  I went closer to the gas chambers, near to the motor room.  After they had pushed all the people into the gas chambers, and after the screaming, and after everything had fallen silent inside, they started the motor, the gas motor...  I saw this man of vast proportions, well built, solid, and he was operating the motor, he was performing some action and pressing on something which activated the motor.  After that, we would wait for twenty minutes to half an hour, and then they ordered the doors to be opened, these were very wide doors, and the corpses to be taken out.  Ivan would come out of this room and would rain murderous blows on us with the pipe.  Sometimes, he would come with a daggger, sometimes with a bayonet, and he would crack skulls, he would cut off ears, he would brutalize the prisoners, it is absolutely unbelievable, unbelievable, and he would stand next to the corpses and gaze upon them.  I want to say, honorable court, that it was horrible to look at the corpses when they took them out of the cabins.  People with crushed faces, people with stab wounds, pregnant women with stab wounds in their bellies, women with the fetus hanging half out, young girls with stab wounds on their breasts, with eyes gouged out.  I find it difficult to portray this scene ... how those victims looked."


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 175



Epstein also recalls an instance when a little girl as found to be still alive when the gas chambers were opened, and in this regards, he recounts the following hair raising story:

"...  The people who removed the corpses from the gas chambers placed the little girl at one side, and this child, her words are ringing in my ears, 'yo chazo mamushi' (that is I want Mummy)...  Ivan tool [sic] one man from amongst us, whose name was Joba, and lashed at him brutally with his whip.  He ordered him 'let down your trousers', I am ashamed to repeat to the court the word that Ivan used, it is obscene.... 'come and fuck', and Joba mounted this child, this act itself, as I understand, was not performed, he leaned over, but it was an abasement of the child ... how can I say this.  Afterwards they took the child to where they took her, to where they took all the corpses next to the pit and shot her.  Ivan was someone whom I find difficult to compare with anything, not even with an animal, because I know that an animal, if sated, does not attack...  Ivan was insatiable, he would look for prey all day long, every minute, so that I can't even compare him with an animal, he was never satisfied.  Ivan would brutalize the people, the prisoners, he would injure them, and according to our slang, he marked him... when a man wounded in the face reached the pit, where Irwin stood, he would order him to strip, kneel on all fours and upon being given a signal a Ukrainian guard shot him in the head."


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 176



There was one instance when a number of Jewish forced laborers succeeded in escaping from the camp.  However, they were caught and returned.  Three of them were brought into the camp tied by their hands and feeet to a wagon.  They threw them next to the gas chambers, and brutalized them the whole day.  Amongst those was Ivan with his pipe.  In the evening they held a parade, and announced to those present that that was what would become to anyone attempting to escape.  Afterwards, they hanged all three from a branch and left them hanging until they expired (pages 491-494 of the protocol).

One may summarize Epstein's acquaintance with Ivan and the essentials of his portrayal of Ivan's character in the following testimony by Epstein (pages 728 of the protocol):

"...  This whole area was very restricted, extremely small.  Everythng took place in such a diminutive place.  He (meaning Ivan) operated in the vicinity of the gas chambers.  I would come to take away corpses, and he would be there all the time.  He would stand and gaze upon the results, what he had done, the stabbing of the girls, the gouging out of the eyes, the severing of the girls' breasts... he stood there like that enjoying the scene...  He was always near me, a few meters away.  This happened.  This was such a restricted place, every hour, every second of each day.  He would stand and gaze upon these things with delight as if he had accomplished something.  He would gaze


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 177



upon the crushed faces, crushed skills... the blood that was flowing.  And he would stand and look at them with some sort of enjoyment as if he had achieved something great.  And he would brutalize the prisoners, cut off a nose, injure somebody in the head, he had some, I cannot find a word in civilized language, in human speech, to compare him to anything, he was a creature not from this planet.  I just don't understand how they can talk about murder.  There are murderers who murder, but after performing the deed, and seeing the result, they show some remorse...  Ivan never showed regret during the eleven months that I remained in Treblinka, and it is impossible to understand how a man could be capable of behaving in this manner...  I am incapable of describing these horrors.  The brain of a healthy man is incapable of absorbing it, what took place in Treblinka...  Almost a million human beings, souls, were slaughtered, children, old people and little children, who was not, what was not, I ask why?  Because they were Jews.  This Ivan was a monster from another planet..."


The witness Eliyahu Rosenberg also relates what he personally saw, because his task for most of the time was on the ramp of the gas chambers in proximity with the gas chambers and the schlauch which led to the gas chambers.  And this is what he relates in his testimony, inter alia (pages 818, 822 of the protocol):


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 178



"...  Honorable court, the name Ivan is well known to me from the time of my stay in the hell of Treblinka.  I saw him especially when I was working on the ramp every day, whenever consignments of Jews arrived for extermination.  I saw him when he stood next to the gas chambers at the entrance to the corridor with a destructive instrument in his possession, such as a small short iron pipe, and a whip.  He also wore a belt with his pistol.  This shouldn't be so, all the destructive instruments together...  I also saw that he had a dagger, I saw him with these destructive instruments, and how he would strike, lash, cut... these victims at the entrance to the gas chambers....  This (Ivan) was a young man with a certain amount of education, from a certain country.  They knew how to strike, to strike.  We were already there, at that place, and we got used to the beatings.  But not to the tortures.  God almighty, why tortures?  Why cut living flesh from people?  Nobody ordered them to do so, no one, he did it alone, on his own initiative.  I never heard any German telling him to do that..."


The witness Rosenberg recalls the terrible experiences he suffered during his personal brutalization by Ivan.  And this is what relates (pages 828, 830 of the protocol):

"I was there on the ramp.  We had removed the bodies from the gas chambers, Ivan came out of his cabin, he saw how I was standing there, the place was full of


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 179



corpses, he said to me... lower your trousers... lie down on them...  I saw this incident, and in a second I understood: this was it, I was finished, either by the pipe in his hand or in another manner.  Lefler (one of the German S.S. men) was standing there.  He was standing and looking.  I ran to him, I stood to attention and said to him (in German): Ivan wants me to have sexual relations with a dead woman.  So then he went up to him and reprimanded him.  Ivan only said to me (in Russian), I'll give it to you.  He gave it to me and he found the opportunity..."


There was one instance when Rosenberg confessed that he had taken bread without permission and shared it with other people.  When they heard about it, the Germans gave him a punishment of 30 lashes.  Rosenberg relates as follows:

"Ivan went outside, nobody asked him to.  He heard it and he was standing at the entrance, it seems, he went outside with his 'peike', his whip and started lashing.  Not alone, another one, Gustav, also whipped me, he was the second.  I was obligated to count, and finally, it was over.  I immediately replace my clothes, my trousers and ran to the hut, I couldn't move for a number of hours..."


And another instance:

"During the months when there were large transports, I saw Ivan coming with a naked Jew, and I saw him


 
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VERDICT         p. 180



bringing this Jew straight to this place next to the fence...  The Jew was elderly with a long beard, long sidecurls, he didn't have any hair on his head.  He, Ivan, went to the fence, lifted it up and pulled it, and he pushed this Jew, with his legs or his body caught in the fence, in the barbed wire, and he began hitting him with the pipe in his hand.  This Jew writhed with pain, he wept and screamed until he stopped weeping, stopped screaming, he was finished."  (Page 831 of the protocol.)


The witness Reichman also experienced the brutal and horrific atrocities perpetrated by Ivan, whom he would constantly see next to the motor room, from where he was sitting with the dentists, on the way from the gas chambers to the pits.  And this is what he relates (page 1669 of the protocol):

"...  I want to tell what took place next to the well with my friend Finkelstein.  While I was still washing teeth together with him, with Finkelstein, this Ashmadai (devil) Ivan came with a drilling machine for drilling holes.  And he rotated this drilling machine for making holes on Finkelstein's buttocks and said to him, if you scream I'll shoot you...  He injured that Finkelstein, he was bleeding and suffering great pain, intense pain, but he was not permitted to scream, because Ivan had given him an order 'If you scream, I'll shoot you'...  Ivan was a super-devil, a super destroyer from Treblinka."


 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 181



Reichman continues and depicts an event which demonsrates the murder lust and ardor which characterized Ivan.  And this is what he relates (pages 1672-1673 of the protocol):

"...  One day, while I was still sitting next to my basin and looking for the teeth, Ivan passed by with a horse hitched to a wagon containing products, a wagon hitched to a horse with products for camp no. 2.  While he was going by with the wagon sobbing and screaming were heard, and when one heard sobs and screams, this meant that people were being put into the gas chambers.  And so, he left the wagon, left the horse and ran to his living quarters.  He fetched a long round iron bar from there, put it on his shoulders and ran so as to be able to manage to strike those being put into the gas chambers.  The path to the gas chambers was his delight.  This was the essence of his life.  He was not obliged to do this at that time.  I also want to talk about the sadism of this killer, which had no limits.  It gave him enjoyment to take a knife, go over to an ordinary worker, cut off his ear and let him run like that, bleeding, and when he returned, he would tell him to strip and would shoot him dead."


Reichman also depicts a different sort of brutality, as follows (page 1681 of the protocol):

"He stood here (next to the motor room) and we still had to sing the songs that they liked for them...  This was between one group of exterminated people and the


 
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VERDICT         p. 182



next, because we had to carry out the dead more quickly than they managed....  Because they shouted to us to do this, and while we waited until the next in turn were exterminated, they allowed us to sit down, and then we had to sing songs that they liked...  Ivan was here (at the motor room).  He would open the switch and afterwards he had time to sit down and enjoy himself.  He would open the switch that supplied the gas."


Avraham Goldfarb in his statement (exhibit Tav/61) describes Ivan's actions as follows:

"....  I came near to the well during the time that Ivan was engaged in pushing people into the gas chambers.  He did this in the most brutal manner.  We, the workers, nicknamed him 'Ivan Grozni' (Ivan the Terrible).  After the doors to the gas chambers had been bolted, he went to the motor.  At that time, we did not come near to the well.  I saw clearly how he pushed the victims with iron bars and a bayonet into the gas chambers.  He even cut the flesh of living people with his knife.  With my own eyes I saw how he cut off pieces of flesh from living people at the entrance to the gas chambers.  In addition, I saw him cutting off the ears of laborers employed near the gas chambers, when they removed the bodies.  A short while later, such laborers would be shot to death...  I saw the details of all that I have described from nearby... from a distance of a few meters."



 
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VERDICT         p. 183



And Avraham Lindwasser, one of the survivors of Treblinka who has since died, told about Ivan in his statement (exhibit Tav/70), and this is what he said, inter alia:

"...  Ivan operated the large diesel motor, which supplied the gas to the gas chambers.  From there, pipes ran into all the gas chambers.  Before the process of extermination by gas, Ivan was always busy filling the gas chambers with victims.  I could always see him prodding the people with a metal bar (I don't know if it was a dagger or a metal pipe), into the gas chambers, probably it was a dagger because many bodies showed cuts and stab wounds.  This was the result of Ivan's activities.  Wounding the victims and stabbing them before their extermination by gas in order to fill the gas chambers more speedily.  This was already his own personal sadism.  Not for nothing did they nickname him Ivan the Terrible."


Boreks, in his testimony, recounts the murder of a young boy by Ivan:

"Two people were carrying a tree (which had been felled in the forest for camouflaging the fences).  I was walking with a boy of seventeen-eighteen.  I had the strength to carry the tree, but the boy did not, and he fell.  Then Ivan went up to him, when he fell, Ivan went up to him and shot him" (page 1452 of the protocol).



 
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STATE OF ISRAEL Vs. IVAN (JOHN) DEMJANJUK
VERDICT         p. 184



"And the children have stumbled under the wood"

(Lamentations 5, 13)




34.  The Lives of the Forced Labor Prisoners in the Treblinka Camp

In order to be able to fulfill the assignment of the speedy and total extermination, the Gemans and their minions as already mentioned required the forced support of Jewish prisoners, from amongst those condemned to extermination.  They had need of those people in various labor groups, for cleaning the railway platform and the trains, for gathering the effects and sorting them, for shearing the womens' hair, for collecting the money and valuables, for removing the corpses from the gas chambers and transferring them for burial, for extracting the teeth of the dead, for placing them on the pyre and scattering the ashes of the martyred victims, and for various other assignments various tasks within the camp.  The number of the Jewish forced laborers varied between 700-1000, amongst them also the group leaders, who were responsible for the forced laborers and the due performance of the forced labor.  These were the Kapos, who were placed between the hammer of the Germans, who demanded discipline and peformance, and the anvil of the prisoners who loathed the work imposed upon them but executed the orders in order to try and save themselves.

The Jewish forced laborers were divided between those who carried out their tasks and services in camp no. 1, and




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