HOME  DEMJANJUK  CREASES

EVEN THE CREASES ARE WRONG
by Lubomyr Prytulak

First posted on   www.xoxol.org/traw/creases.html   19-Aug-2010 11:36am PST, last revised 30-Aug-2010 09:40am PST

SUMMARY

The outside crease of the Demjanjuk 1393 Trawniki ID Card lacks the elevated ridge which is expected from the results of a home experiment, and which is present on the other three Munich-quality Trawniki ID Cards.  This suggests that the Demjanjuk card was never folded tightly, as a soldier would fold it to keep it from springing open, or rather as the card's manufacturers would have folded it for the soldier, but rather was created in a Kremlin forging factory where it was typically handled lying open and flat, and therefore never tightly folded because this would have made it resistant to lying flat.

And the inside crease of the Demjanjuk 1393 Trawniki ID Card shows erosion of overlapping written and typed material, which is unexpected from the results of a home experiment, and which is absent from the other three Munich-quality Trawniki ID Cards.  This erosion suggests that a Kremlin forger who was asked to abrade the card to give it the appearance of wear went too far and abraded a part of the card that in normal use would have enjoyed protection from wear.

A HOME EXPERIMENT

To get an impresssion of what erosion might be produced on ink writing on a folded card, the following experiment was conducted.

Four blank white index cards, measuring 6 inches wide by 4 inches high, had a wavy India-ink line drawn down their middles on both sides.  The cards were then folded in half, the fold proceeding through the wavy line on each side of the card.  The cards were then tumbled for three hours, along with a pile of rags, in a clothes drier with heat turned off, a process which will be referred to as "abrasion".  To see whether there was any effect of the tumbling repeatedly opening and closing a card along its fold, two of the cards were taped shut, and the other two were left untaped.  These wavy ink lines are referred to as "early-lines" because they antedated both the folding and the dryer abrasion.  After the cards were removed from the dryer, another wavy ink line was drawn through the crease on both sides of each card; these lines are referred to as "late-lines" because they postdated both the folding and the abrasion.

Early-Lines

Display 1 data can be summarized as follows:

  1. Images of the four outside creases can be perceived as showing either a ridge elevated above the surface of the card or a trough depressed below the surface of the card, it being sometimes difficult to reverse whichever of these two impressions has implanted itself.  As lighting was from the right, the correct perception is that of a ridge with its right side bright and its left side in shadow.  (Had lighting been from the left, the correct perception would have been that of a trough.)  In each of the four cards, then, the outside crease is characterized by a ridge.

    The inside crease, in contrast, shows not a single large ridge, but a band of small and approximately-parallel ridges.

  2. The ink line along the outside crease is eroded to varying degrees, and often completely vanishes.  The inside crease, in contrast, shows no disappearance of the ink line, and not even any weakening, whether the card is taped shut or allowed to flap open.


Display 1.  The crease on an outside fold consists of a single elevated ridge, and on an inside fold consists of a band of small ridges.  Ink lines, called "early-lines" because they were drawn prior to both folding and erosion, wear away on an outside crease, but not on an inside crease, whether the card is taped shut or allowed to flap open untaped.  Links embedded in the card-number column-headings lead to the complete card surface (enlargeable beyond what may at first pop up) from which the fragments shown in Display 1 are taken.
OUTSIDE CREASE INSIDE CREASE
Card Taped Shut Cannot Flap Open Untaped Card Can Flap Open Card Taped Shut Cannot Flap Open Untaped Card Can Flap Open
Card 1 Card 2 Card 3 Card 4 Card 1 Card 2 Card 3 Card 4


Late-Lines

The outside crease, presenting the obstacle of a raised ridge, is approached slowly and with a firmly-gripped pen, in anticipation of collision with the ridge, and with the hope of breaking through the ridge by dint of force and at slow speed so as to minimize any splatter that may result upon collision.  The smooth early-lines in Display 1 that were produced by sweeping strokes drawn on flat paper are, therefore, replaced by late-lines in Display 2 that are choppy and irregular.

In the case of the inside fold, the crease ridges lie flatter on the paper, and thus present a smaller obstacle to the pen, causing less disruption when encountered, and which therefore a writer is more likely to venture writing over when need arises.  The chief effect of writing over an inside fold seems to be that the ink contacts only the tops of the ridges, leaving uninked gaps in the troughs, and occasionally when the ink succeeds in entering a trough, produces wicking along the trough.

Display 2.  Late-lines, written following folding and abrasion, encounter greater obtacle and disruption when written over an outside crease than over an inside crease.
OUTSIDE CREASE INSIDE CREASE
Card Taped Shut Cannot Flap Open Untaped Card Can Flap Open Card Taped Shut Cannot Flap Open Untaped Card Can Flap Open
Card 1 Card 2 Card 3 Card 4 Card 1 Card 2 Card 3 Card 4


WHAT DO THE CREASES LOOK LIKE ON THE FOUR MUNICH-VERSION TRAWNIKI ID CARDS?

Outside Creases

The raised ridge, which our experiment led us to expect along the entire length of an outside crease, was observed on three cards (Juchnowskij, Wolembachow, and Bondarenko), but not on Demjanjuk's.  One might go so far as to say that the Demjanjuk outside crease resembles the inside creases of other cards more than it resembles their outside creases.

As would be expected from the home experiment showing the negative consequences of ink writing colliding with an outside crease, no outside crease was ever overwritten on the four Munich-quality cards, with writers showing signs of actively avoiding such overlap, as for example on the left side of the outside crease by hyphenating words about to overlap the crease (one instance of such hyphenation visible on each of the Juchnowskij, Demjanjuk, and Bondarenko cards, the Demjanjuk instance being the faint writing which is the second of the three lines visible to the left of the outside crease in Display 3); and which active avoidance is exemplified also by the writer deforming letters so as to make them avoid the outside crease (to consider a single instance, of the three "C"s visible to the right of the outside crease on the Demjanjuk card, the middle of these three "C"s is largest of the three, and threatened to overlap the outside crease before the writer gave that "C" a straight back).

Inside Creases

The home experiment leads us to expect no erosion of writing along an inside crease, and the three Munich-quality cards other than Demjanjuk's exhibit no erosion in seven instances of ink lines crossing the inside crease.  In any case, these seven ink lines are Z. Bazilevskaya writing her Russian translations on the cards in 1948, three years after the end of the war, on cards no longer in use by their putative bearers, but rather stored in Kremlin archives, so that no abrasion of her writing is to be expected.

The Demjanjuk card, however, shows Bazilevskaya post-war writing crossing the inside crease twice, and a wartime typewritten line crossing the inside crease once, with erosion evident in all three instances.  All three instances of erosion are unexpected because the inside crease is generally protected from abrasion.  The two instances of Bazilevskaya erosion are all the more unexpected because they were created at a time when the card was sitting safely in Kremlin archives, protected from abrasion.

Display 3.  The outside crease on the Bondarenko 1926 card is available only in the blurred, small, black-white Jerusalem version, which is presented twice below so as to facilitate comparison with Munich-version images along their entire length.  Lighting for the color Munich-version images is from the left, and for the black-white Bondarenko image is from the left in the upper part of the image, but from the right in the lower part.
OUTSIDE CREASE INSIDE CREASE
Juchnowskij
847
Wolembachow
1211
Demjanjuk
1393
Bondarenko
1926
Juchnowskij
847
Wolembachow
1211
Demjanjuk
1393
Bondarenko
1926





THE PREVAILING CIRCUMSTANCES

A soldier will typically fold his card tightly (which produces an elevated ridge on the ouside crease) so as to keep the card from springing open.  Or, the manufacturers of the card will typically fold a card tightly prior to handing it over to its bearer, also to lessen the likelihood that the card will flap open and expose its photograph to wear or loss.  Forgers, on the other hand, might mainly work on the card lying unfolded, and so will avoid producing a tight fold whose effect would be to prevent the opened card from lying flat.

Also, a soldier will be unlikely to erode the inner crease of his card because he will never pocket the card folded in the wrong direction.  However, an inept forger may expect that he is contributing to the seeming authenticity of a card by deliberately eroding parts of it, but may overlook that the inside crease which he has chosen to erode is typically protected from abrasion and therefore typically evidences no erosion.

BAZILEVSKAYA'S REVENGE, AGAIN?

Display 4.  Incongruity of equivalent erosion of a 1942 wartime typewriter entry, and two Bazilevskaya 1948 post-war ink entries, is resolved by positing that they were abraded at the same time and to the same degree.


 

The single most telling observation is that of the three entries overlapping the inside crease of the Demjanjuk Card, as shown in Display 4.  The German "Saporosche", indicating Demjanjuk's province of birth, was putatively typed in 1942 when the card was issued, and thus was present on the card while its bearer carried the card around with him during his military service.  However, the Russian "темнорусне" meaning "dark blond", and "Окцов" indicating location of first posting, both in ink, were putatively written by MGB translator Z. Bazilevskaya in 1948, six years after the card was issued in 1942 and three years after the war ended in 1945, at a time when the card was safeguarded in Kremlin archives, and therefore protected from abrasion.  And yet the degree of erosion on the typewritten and inked lines seems equivalent.

The resolution of this incongruity seems to be that the two kinds of line, typewritten and inked, were in fact subjected to the same abrasion, and that the abrasion took place on or after 1948, and so that none of it was abrasion from the normal use of a military ID card, but rather was an artificial abrasion performed by the KGB.  For such artificial abrasion, two interpretations come to mind — either it was the mistake of an incompetent KGB forger, or else Z. Bazilevskaya was deliberately sabotaging the Kremlin persecution of John Demjanjuk by leaving yet another clue that the card was counterfeit.

On the other hand, it may be supposed that forensic investigators, like Larry Stewart working for the US Secret Service, may have wanted to lay the card flat, as perhaps to photograph it, and to make the card lie flat, folded it in the opposite direction to neutralize the springiness produced by the initial correct folding, and that this opposite folding was what caused erosion loss along the inside crease.  In rebuttal, it may be supposed that competent laboratory procedure would have imposed flatness not by folding the card in the wrong direction, but by some less destructive procedure such as covering the card with a plate of glass.  It may be supposed, also, that competent laboratory procedure would have protected the card from all future folding and unfolding by storing it in the open position, and examining it in the open position as well.

Furthermore, the degree of erosion visible on outside creases in Display 1 of the home experiment was produced after extensive abrasion, and it is a degree of erosion that is comparable to that observed in Display 4 of the Demjanjuk card's inside crease.  But if one second of dryer-tumbling of the four experimental cards together with a pile of rags is considered to produce a single abrasive contact, then three hours will produce 10,800 abrasive contacts.  In contrast, the Demjanjuk Card cannot be imagined to have received anything like this magnitude of rough treatment on the handful of occasions that it was photographed or otherwise examined.  And in any case, even if the Demjanjuk Card had been exposed to the equivalent of 10,800 abrasive contacts, it is only its outside crease that would have been eroded, and only when the card was handled when closed so as to expose that outside crease to maximal abrasion.  For the Demjanjuk inside crease to have become eroded unintentionally, the card would have had to be roughly handled thousands of times while folded in the wrong direction — which seems implausible.



HOME  DEMJANJUK  CREASES