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FORGED AND OBLITERATED
THINGS YOU WON'T READ IN WIKIPEDIA ABOUT THE TRAWNIKI ID CARD'S DEMJANJUK SIGNATURE
by Lubomyr Prytulak

First posted on   www.xoxol.org/traw/forge.html   18-Feb-2010, last revised 20-May-2010, 11:37am PST


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TRAWNIKI ID CARD

During his Jerusalem trial and appeal of 1986-1993, the Trawniki ID Card was the only documentary evidence putting John Demjanjuk in German uniform, and in the Munich trial of 2009-2010, it promises to be the chief piece of documentary evidence connecting John Demjanjuk to Sobibor.

Many defects contribute to undermining the authenticity of the card, perhaps the most important of these being defects in the "Demjanjuk" signature that is on the card, which defects are the subject of this essay.

It would seem that if the "Demjanjuk" signature on the Trawniki ID Card can be doubted, then the credibility of the card is destroyed, and it plays no further role in the case.  However, if the signature's defects are so serious as to go beyond creating doubt, if they are so egregious as to constitute evidence that the signature is forged, and if in addition to that the prosecution can be shown to have taken steps to obscure that signature, or in other words if the prosecution can be shown to be guilty of evidence tampering, then it becomes the prosecution that is put on trial in Munich, and not John Demjanjuk.

FOUR CARDS
  NAME  NUMBER   PHOTOGRAPH   SIGNATURE  JPG OUTSIDE  JPG INSIDE     PDF   
Juchnowskij, Iwan   847  Yes No
Wolembachow, Iwan   1211  Yes No
Demjanjuk, Iwan   1393  Yes Yes
Bondarenko, Mykola   1926  No Yes

The Munich prosecutors released high-definition images of four Trawniki ID Cards which can be identified by the name of the putative bearer and by the Dienstausweis number on the card, as shown in the table on the right where JPG columns present CLICK links to high-resolution-with-color Munich Versions of the card, except in the single case where Bondarenko Outside offers only a lower-resolution black-white Jerusalem Version which is signalled by a blue border around CLICK.  The "outside" face of a card is the surface that remains visible after the card is folded along its vertical crease; the "inside" face is the face that becomes hidden when the card is folded.  PDF versions always present inferior images, but usually come with the advantage of containing translations of the Russian and German on the card.  Blue-bordered CLICKs in the PDF column indicate absence of translations in Juchnowskij and Bondarenko PDFs, which two files, therefore, can be taken to offer nothing more than inferior PDF images.  As it is the Demjanjuk card that is of primary interest here, however, it may prove convenient to consult its PDF version to obtain English translations of its German as well as of its Russian.  The full slate of available Trawniki ID Card images can be accessed here.

As several of the images below are large, their viewing will be facilitated by their being displayed on the largest-available screen and with the browser window expanded to fit the full width of the screen.  Small or low-resolution or dim screens may make it difficult or impossible to see some of the details on which important conclusions hinge.

TWO ALLEGATIONS

The first allegation, discussed immediately below, is that John Demjanjuk's persecutors have OBLITERATED the "Demjanjuk" Cyrillic signature on Trawniki ID Card No. 1393.  Although someone who can read Ukrainian, and is familiar with what the signature looked like before being obscured, can still discern traces of several letters, the signature can be considered to have been obliterated in the sense that any Ukrainian who is asked to read what presently remains of that signature, but without any information as to what it is that he is being asked to read, is unlikely to be able to guess that it says "Demjanjuk".

The second allegation, discussed further below, is that the motive behind the obliteration of the Demjanjuk signature is concealment of evidence that the signature was written by someone other than John Demjanjuk, or in other words that the motive is concealment of evidence that the signature is FORGED.

THE DEMJANJUK SIGNATURE HAS BEEN OBLITERATED

What are we looking for?

The Cyrillic of "Demjanjuk" is composed of the following seven characters, the upper line showing optimal writing from a textbook, perhaps a little more elegant and refined than will be evident in the hand of anyone but a professional calligrapher:

Cyrillic Optimally-written Cyrillic capital letter D Optimally-written Cyrillic letter e Optimally-written Cyrillic letter m Optimally-written Cyrillic letter ja Optimally-written Cyrillic letter n Optimally-written Cyrillic letter ju Optimally-written Cyrillic letter k
Path       Path writing Cyrillic letter [ja] Path writing Cyrillic letter [n] Path writing Cyrillic letter [ju]  
Reference [D] [e] [m] [ja] [n] [ju] [k]
Pronunciation demand demand demand yard demand ukelele ukelele


The "path" line in the table above clarifies the route followed by the writer in creating the three characters for which this route may not be obvious, and which three characters in fact prove to be the characters of greatest interest in an evaluation of authenticity.  The "reference" line shows how each Cyrillic character will be referred to in the instant essay — each such reference consisting of the characters within the transliteration used in writing Demjanjuk, but grouped within square brackets so as to indicate correspondence to the Cyrillic characters.

If "Demjanjuk" were being transliterated for the first time today directly from Cyrillic into English, it would be rendered Demianiuk or possibly Demyanyuk.  The reason that "j"s are used instead of "i"s or "y"s is probably that the Cyrillic had been originally transliterated into German, and that German transliteration was retained when John Demjanjuk moved to the U.S.  Incidentally, the Ukrainian pronunciation places primary stress on the last syllable.

It is something like the above sequence of seven Cyrillic characters, then, that we are going to be looking for on the Trawniki ID Card.

And what degree of legibility do we expect to find?

The Trawniki ID Card comes with two official signatures in addition to Demjanjuk's — that of Streibel and Teufel, and we can see below the improvement in clarity and resolution of the Streibel signature between the Jerusalem Version (black-white and above) and the Munich Version (color and below).  The Jerusalem Version was the early reproduction of the card that the defence was forced to rely on in John Demjanjuk's Jerusalem trial and appeal (1986-1993); the Munich Version is the reproduction released to the defense for his ongoing trial in Munich (2009-2010).

Trawniki ID Card signature of SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Streibel: Jerusalem and Munich Versions

Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Jerusalem version Streibel signature, Jerusalem Version

 
  CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=DEMJANJUK
Face=OUTSIDE
Link to full-size 5245x3581 John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, OUTSIDE White disk on "Streibel"

The Munich Version of the Streibel signature (see below) is clearer and sharper and more detailed than the Jerusalem Version (see left), and so it is reasonable to expect a similar improvement in the Munich Version of the Demjanjuk signature.  The round excisions in the Munich Version result from removal of samples for laboratory analysis of ink or paper.

The CLICKABLE LOCATOR appearing on the right marks the location of the Streibel signature with a white disk.  Clicking the LOCATOR image downloads the high-resolution Munich Version of the corresponding card face, and that download can be blown up to a larger size than initially appears.

Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version Streibel signature, Munich Version

 

Trawniki ID Card signature of SS Rottenführer Ernst Teufel: Jerusalem and Munich Versions

Ernst Teufel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Jerusalem version Teufel signature, Jerusalem Version

 
  CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=DEMJANJUK
Face=INSIDE
Link to full-size 5340x3712 John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE White disk on "Teufel"

The Teufel signature, in turn, shows a similar clarification from Jerusalem to Munich versions.

"Ausgegeben" means "issued by" — Teufel signs as the issuing authority for the clothing and equipment itemized just above his signature on the card.

Not immediately relevant, but which may be noted briefly while we have the Teufel signature before us, is that to the right of his signature, and at a lower level, Teufel writes his rank in abbreviation — SS Rottff — with which there is a problem, as Rottenführer contains only a single "f", such that the correct abbreviation is Rottf.

But what concerns us at the moment is that although somewhat obscured by what seems like an intemperate excision of laboratory samples, and though the lines lack the blackness of Streibel's signature, they are nevertheless clearer than they had been, and which again encourages us to look forward to testing the authenticity of a Demjanjuk signature that has become clarified in comparison to what had been available in Jerusalem.

Ernst Teufel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version Teufel signature, Munich Version

 

From a different Trawniki ID Card, the signature of Mykola Bondarenko

The Bondarenko signature is found under "Richtig empfangen" which means "Received in order by the following" conveying that the undersigned has received in good order all the clothing and equipment that has been enumerated by Ernst Teufel in the list on the card above the signature.  Inexplicably, of the four high-resolution Munich-Version Cards, only those of Demjanjuk and Bondarenko have "Richtig empfangen" signatures, such that only the Bondarenko signature is available as a guide to what might be expected from the corresponding Demjanjuk signature, and the exemplary clarity of the Munich Version Bondarenko signature below raises our hopes still higher that the Munich Version Demjanjuk signature will be equivalently clear.

Although not immediately relevant, it would be a misuse of opportunity to omit noticing while the Bondarenko signature is before us that it is not written in Cyrillic, and if it is a transliteration into German, then at best it says Boneko, which falls four characters short of what is needed.

Mykola Bondarenko signature on Trawniki ID Card 1926, Munich version Bondarenko signature, Munich Version

 
CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=BONDARENKO
Face=INSIDE
Link to full-size 5268x3610 Mykola Bondarenko Trawniki ID Card 1926, Munich version, INSIDE White disk on "Bondarenko"

Digit 1 from the Mykola Bondarenko Trawniki ID Card 1926, Munich version Bondarenko Card
Digit "1"

 
  CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=BONDARENKO
Face=INSIDE
Link to full-size 5268x3610 Mykola Bondarenko Trawniki ID Card 1926, Munich version, INSIDE White disk on "1"

Further inspection of the Bondarenko Trawniki ID Card reveals that the handwritten digits above his signature (which digits count the items of clothing and equipment received), such as the "1" shown on the left, are similar in color and thickness and clarity to the writing in the Bondarenko signature, and which leads to the hypothesis that both were written at the same time and in the same place as the itemization of the clothing and equipment being apportioned, and so possibly written using the same pen dipped into the same inkpot and made available at that spot for both purposes — enumeration by the dispensing clerk and signing by the recipient.  The alternative of a boot-camp trainee carrying around his own fountain pen seems implausible, as is the alternative of the signature being written at a time or place different from that of actual distribution of gear.  The further expectation generated, then, is that the Demjanjuk signature will prove to be of the same quality as the enumeration digits which appear above it.

And finally, the Trawniki ID Card signature "Demjanjuk"

Digit 1 from the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE Demjanjuk Card
Digit "1"

 
  CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=DEMJANJUK
Face=INSIDE
Link to full-size 5340x3712 John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE White disk on "1"

Having arrived at the panel on which the [Demjanjuk] signature is known to lie (inside face, right-hand panel), we notice one final reassurance that the legibility of [Demjanjuk] will be high, and that reassurance is that the legibility of the enumeration digits above [Demjanjuk] is high, as illustrated in the example on the left, a reassurance that was justified from inferences made immediately above from the Bondarenko card.

  CLICKABLE LOCATOR:
Card=DEMJANJUK
Face=INSIDE
Link to full-size 5340x3712 John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE White disk on "Demjanjuk"

Demjanjuk signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Jerusalem version, INSIDE Demjanjuk signature, Jerusalem Version

 

Looking underneath "Richtig empfangen", at long last, what we find falls short of heightened clarity.  The Jerusalem Version is small and faint and blurred, but at least it is possible to make out most of the characters; however, the Munich Version from which we were expecting something better is actually worse.  We also expected [Demjanjuk] to be as legible as the digit "1" shown just above, but that expectation too was disappointed.  On top of that, where from the Bondarenko precedent we expected the color of the ink and the thickness of the line to be the same in the enumeration numbers as in the Richtig empfangen signature, we find instead that the enumeration ink is black whereas the signature ink is green, the only green ink used anywhere on the four leading cards, inviting us to believe — what? — perhaps that boot-camp prisoner John Demjanjuk carried around his own fountain pen loaded with green ink, or perhaps more credibly that the KGB needed an ink that lacked iron so as to prevent accurate dating, and in fact of the four different inks on the card, this green ink was the only ink that did lack iron:

After examining the four types of fountain-pen inks on the card, U.S. and Israeli authorities determined that the inks did not contain any component that did not exist in the early 1940s.  Of these four inks, three contained iron, which has been common in ink for centuries, yet the fourth, the ink used in the "Demjanjuk signature," contained no iron.  The reason this is significant is that, without iron, the Demjanjuk signature could not be accurately dated.

The fact that an ink was in use during World War II does not mean that a particular sample containing those components was so used, incidentally.  In my kitchen in Phoenix, I created four types of inks that, from their components, could have existed in the early 1940s.  Using these, I forged the signatures of the two German officers which appear on the Trawniki card.  The chief of the Israeli documentation laboratory complimented me on my forgeries!


William J. Flynn, Demjanjuk: a victim of Soviet forgery, The Arizona Republic, 10 July 1988 in Ukrainian Weekly, 18 Sep 1988 p. 7  www.scribd.com/~    William J. Flynn, a forensic document examiner for the past 20 years, is vice-president of the American Board of Forensic Documents Examiners.  He exposed a purported Mormon document as a forgery in the 1986 "White Salamander" murder case in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Demjanjuk signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE
Demjanjuk signature, Munich Version

Enhanced Demjanjuk signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE
Enhancement of the Demjanjuk signature, Munich Version, showing more clearly the bright vertical band passing through the [D] in [Demjanjuk], and serving particularly to reveal the base of that [D] to be a line of uniform thinness.


We can begin to gain an understanding of the cause of the degradation of the Demjanjuk signature by examining, in the Munich Version above, the base of the [D] in Demjanjuk, where it can be seen that the writer's pen line is faint but distinct, and most importantly, is thin, uniformly thin, compared to the rest of the signature in which the writer's line seems swollen, as if it had seeped or leached or bled into the paper.  And we notice also that that sharply-focussed and uniformly-thin base of the [D] seems to be illuminated by a vertical shaft of light which extends upward to also illuminate the "R" in "Richtig".  However, as the [D] approaches the edge of the vertical shaft of light, either the left edge or the right, the [D] vanishes.  The spiral-of-decreasing-radius which terminates the writing of the [D], discussed during the Jerusalem trial for its being unlike the writing of [D] in known Demjanjuk signatures, has entirely vanished in the Munich Version that we are looking at above, even though much of the top of that [D] would have fallen within the vertical shaft of light which seemed to protect and preserve the base of the [D].

How might the degradation of the [Demjanjuk] signature, together with the attendant details that we have been noting above, be explained?

What caused the loss of legibility?

The images below serve to demonstrate that the Demjanjuk signature has indeed bled into the card, and it bled into the card because it was moistened with a solvent.

The uppermost row below shows the version of the Trawniki ID Card released to the defense during the Jerusalem trial, but reduced to a width of 800 pixels so as to make it comparable to the images in the second row below, the row labelled "Online Version" found at only the 800-pixel width at www.holocaustresearchproject.org/~.  Despite the Online Version being small, which is to say despite its having low resolution, its Demjanjuk signature is completely legible — if one brings one's eyes as close to the screen as possible, and if one is familiar enough with Cyrillic to know what to look for, then every portion of the signature can be tracked.  Of the three versions of the signature shown in the first three rows below, it is this Online Version in the second row that gives the best picture of the Demjanjuk signature.  It follows that this Online Version at its original higher resolution, higher than the meager 800 pixel width appearing here, would reveal a Demjanjuk signature legible with even higher confidence and from a more comfortable viewing distance.  The Jerusalem Version in the uppermost row has the second-best legibility, and the Munich Version in the third row from the top, the version in use in John Demjanjuk's trial today, has the worst Demjanjuk signature, and whose further inspection instantly gives us the answer we are looking for, the answer to the question of what caused the Demjanjuk signature to be degraded, and as well the explanation of various details that we have been noting, and — to repeat — that answer is shown in the third row from the top, the Munich Version row, and then shown in greater detail in the two further rows below that.

And that answer is that two rectangular labels have been glued to the outside surface of the card, and that the glue has seeped through to the inside surface so as to form two rectangular splotches overlapping the Teufel and Demjanjuk signatures.  The bright vertical strip through the [D] in [Demjanjuk] and the "R" in "Richtig" on the inside surface of the card corresponds on the outside surface to the region between the labels where no glue had been applied.

It must be cautioned that attributing the observations to glue is in the nature of a first impression; however, evidence presented further below will demonstrate that the responsible agent is unlikely to have been glue, and that in the absence of laboratory analysis, we are safe to speak only of a "mystery liquid".

The interpretation that leaps to mind, then, is that John Demjanjuk's persecutors, desperate to prevent a Munich acquittal of John Demjanjuk to follow on the heels of his Jerusalem acquittal, had the choice of (a) allowing the Demjanjuk signature to remain legible and watching the Demjanjuk defense demonstrate that it differs radically from all known signatures of John Demjanjuk, or (b) degrading the Demjanjuk signature to the verge of illegibility and being then able, on the grounds of the signature's indistinctness, to cast doubt on anything the defense may have to say about it.  They chose (b).  The persecutors recognized that any action that they might take to directly weaken the signature would leave evidence that a forensic laboratory would be able to identify as an intentional degradation of the signature itself, and so the persecutors made the degradation look like an incidental and inadvertent result of laboratory sloppiness, while leaving the door open also to their arguing that what some choose to call sloppiness is standard and acceptable laboratory procedure, and which had not caused trouble in their laboratory since time immemorial.  But in any case, better to take blame for having failed to adequately oversee a young and inexperienced lab technician (details the Munich prosecution might be expected to throw in) than to take blame for having handed the court a forged document.

SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF WHITE LABELS
John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, outside surface, Jerusalem version Jerusalem Version, Outside John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, inside surface, Jerusalem version Jerusalem Version, Inside
John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, outside surface, Online version Online Version, Outside.  No labels have as yet been attached. John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, inside surface, Online version Online Version, Inside.  Most legible of all available Demjanjuk signatures.
John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, outside surface, Munich version Munich Version, Outside.   Two labels, apparently glued to the card, make their first appearance. John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, inside surface, Munich version Munich Version, Inside.   Two discolored patches, corresponding to the two labels glued to the opposite surface, also make their first appearance.
Zoom in on white labels on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393 outside surface, Munich version Munich Version, Outside, Detail.  Particularly-broad and discolored perimeter around the smaller label is suggestive of a particularly-generous application of a mystery liquid. Moderate zoom in on discolored patches caused by white labels on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393 inside surface, Munich version Munich Version, Inside, Detail.  Bleeding of green ink lines is produced in the strongly-discolored area corresponding to the smaller label.

Maximum zoom in on discolored patches caused by white labels on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393 inside surface, Munich version Munich Version, Inside, Detail at Maximum Resolution.  Two comparisons measure degree of obliteration: (1) between base of [D] and [emjanjuk], and (2) between "Teufel SS Rottff" and [emjanjuk]

Of course the persecutors did not erase or bleach or dissolve the Demjanjuk signature completely, as this would have awakened the incredulity of even the most inattentive of observers.  The persecutors were forced to limit their degradation to a degree that remained deniable.  They were forced to use two large labels covering a large area because if they had attacked only the small Demjanjuk-signature area, their purpose would have been obvious.  They needed to treat two large areas so as to make it appear that any effect on the Demjanjuk signature was incidental to some innocuous purpose.  They hoped also to demonstrate, by failing to degrade the Teufel signature, that the rectangles of visible discoloration were not necessarily accompanied by signature degradation; however, it is evident that the discolored rectangle over the Demjanjuk signature is darker than the other rectangle, suggestive of different treatment, perhaps by a more generous application of solvent, or over a longer interval, or from both surfaces of the card — one cannot know how the treatment may have differed without laboratory analysis, but one can see that the discoloration differs between the two rectangles, and from this alone one is safe to infer different treatment of some kind, and which different treatment could account for much bleeding of the Demjanjuk signature and little or no bleeding of the Teufel.

But why would the persecutors omit solvent application in the vertical strip extending through the "R" of "Richtig" and continuing down through the [D] of Demjanjuk?  The answer may be that the persecutors saw that the [D] was already one of the faintest parts of the signature, and hoped that by bleaching or dissolving the remainder of the signature, they would be making the rest of the signature resemble that initial [D].  It was the middle letters [m], [ja], [n], [ju] that were most in need of bleaching or dissolving because they were darkest and as well because they contained the strongest exculpatory details.  From the point of view of the persecutors, the bottom of the [D] needed no obliteration because it contained no indication of forgery.  So, they thought, we will allow the bottom of the [D] to pass unbleached and undissolved because it is already faint, because it lacks exculpatory potential, and because it might match up with the faintness that we hope to produce in the rest of the signature, and because leaving this harmless and insignificant part of the signature unattacked by solvent will weaken the perception that the solvent has been applied solely for the purpose of degrading the Demjanjuk signature, but rather will strengthen the opposite impression that the solvent only inadvertently happened to overlap part of the signature.  Unfortunately for the evidence-tamperers, the unattacked bottom of the [D] reveals a writing line of uniform and fine-edged narrowness which differs markedly from the writing line in the bled portion of the signature.

  Fully legible signature of MGB translator Z. Bazilevskaya on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393 outside surface, Munich version Signature of MGB translator Z. Bazilevskaya, dated 12-Mar-1948, Munich Version, is eminently legible compared to the corrupted Demjanjuk signature immediately above.

There is a world of a difference between mere faintness and solvent-produced illegibility.  For example, when translator Bazilevskaya signs her name on the Trawniki ID Card, she seems to run out of ink, and has to stop in mid-surname to dip her pen, and then resumes with a strong flow of ink.  Although her signature becomes faint in the middle, as faint as any handwriting anywhere on the card, it never loses legibility; one may even notice that legibility is superior in the faintest portion of her signature than in the succeeding portion overloaded with ink.  To see how different illegibility-produced-by-solvent is from mere faintness, compare Bazilevskaya's signature with the Demjanjuk signature just above — scroll your window up or down and left or right until you have both of these signatures on your screen at the same time, and look from one to the other, and you cannot fail to be convinced that Bazilevskaya is faint but legible whereas Demjanjuk is dissolved and illegible, except of course for the bottom of its [D] whose clarity and legibility happen to be identical to the two final of Bazilevskaya's faint characters.

While we have Bazilevskaya's signature at hand, we may note incidentally that the last letter in her name is the same [ja] that is in Demjanjuk even though it looks different from the model [ja] shown at the top of the instant page.  Bazilevskaya's manner of writing [ja] will become relevant shortly.

One may note, finally, that the top of the [D] has pretty much vanished in the Munich Version, and this upper part was the subject of discussion in the Jerusalem trial because it contained a concluding spiral of decreasing radius which was atypical of John Demjanjuk's know signatures.  This spiral is not discussed in the instant essay because it cannot be unambiguously seen in any of the signature versions available and because other features that are clearly visible provide ample support for conclusions drawn.  The question remains, however, of what happened to the upper portion of the [D], and especially the spiral which attracted attention in Jerusalem.  As this upper portion lies mostly between the two soak-through stains, one must hypothesize that it was removed by some means other than the mystery liquid, as perhaps dissolved by some alternative liquid that does not leave a stain, or perhaps erased mechanically.  It would be unreasonable to suppose that once the persecutors had committed themselves to evidence-tampering, they restricted themselves to a single method, the example documented immediately below demonstrating the persecutors' removal of information from the Trawniki ID card without the creation of a discoloration stain.

Disappearance of a rust line segment

Paper-clip rust line on Gontscharuk Trawniki ID Card 303
Gontscharuk 303
  Paper-clip rust line on Golub Trawniki ID Card 619
Golub 619
 

It is not uncommon to find what appear to be paper-clip rust lines on Trawniki Cards, as for example in the two instances shown opposite.

Paper-clip rust line over Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Jerusalem version
Upper and lower rust lines in the Jerusalem Trawniki ID Card
 

In the Jerusalem Version of Trawniki Card 1393, two approximately-parallel lines can be seen to cross the Streibel signature.  As the lines were brown, and as they were near the edge of the card, and as they were approximately at right angle to that edge, and as they tested positive for iron, they were thought to be rust lines from a paper clip that had been attached to the card, and were considered to be of interest because analysis of the rust lines might justify probative inferences.  For example, if the manufacture of the paper clip in question was determined to have begun in 1950, and if the Streibel signature was observed to have been written overtop of the rust, then this would indicated that the Streibel signature had been written no earlier than 1950, or in other words that it was a forgery.

Paper-clip rust line over Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version
The clearest segment of the lower rust line has gone missing in the Munich Trawniki ID Card
 

In the Munich Version of Trawniki Card 1393, however, the longest and darkest rust-line segment, which constituted the bulk of the lower rust line, can be seen to have vanished.  This disappearance cannot be excused as sample removal for the sake of laboratory analysis, as this is properly done only by the removal of plugs which leave behind a clear indication of the area excised.  Removal without leaving behind clear indication of removal is evidence tampering, more especially in an instance like the one before us where removal was of an entire line segment and which had been spoken of as having exculpatory potential.  Furthermore, the widening of Streibel-signature ink gap within the vertical crease folds running from top to bottom of the image seems to have included additional rust-line loss as well.  The crumbling away of Streibel-signature ink just above the missing rust line (see the base of the down-dip that follows the "b") is suggestive of scraping to remove the rust line, which scraping lifted off paper fibers, along with ink attached to the paper fibers, over a broader swath than the scraper had intended.



Paper-clip rust line over Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Jerusalem version Paper-clip rust line over Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Online version Paper-clip rust line over Streibel signature on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version  
Jerusalem
Online
Munich

Leaving details aside, the undeniable fact is that a line segment with exculpatory potential was clearly visible in the Jerusalem Version and has entirely vanished in the Munich version.  Comparison of the three images opposite indicates that the disappearance occurred between the Online Version (where the lower-rust-line segment is still visible) and the Munich Version (where the lower-rust-line segment has vanished).  These three fragments are taken from the first three rows of the SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF WHITE LABELS array of images above where the rust line can be tracked within images of the entire card faces just as we have tracked it here in these three fragments.  Consulting the pdf version of the Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card indicates that the now-missing segment of rust line was in the low-quality pdf version the only segment that was visible.  Of course it is only with the assistance of the enlargements immediately above that the removal of the main segment of the lower rust line can be confirmed with confidence.

The motive for removing the most visible portion of the rust lines, then, might have been to take attention from them so that they were never investigated or discussed in the Munich proceedings.  The failure of Demjanjuk persecutors to excise sample plugs of the rust lines for laboratory analysis suggests that they fear receiving exculpatory results.  Given that the lawyers conducting John Demjanjuk's Munich defense were unfamiliar with the details of earlier proceedings, and given that earlier discussions of the rust lines were buried under mountains of paper, and given the scarcity of early images of the Trawniki ID Card, along with the improbability that members of the defense team would have time to make close comparisons of Jerusalem and Munich Versions, there was a good chance that the rust-line removal would pass unnoticed.  Anyone who remembered the rust-line issue from Jerusalem days, or who read about it more recently, might glance at the Munich Version of the Trawniki ID Card, might decide that the rust lines were too faint to deserve much attention, and might omit them from further consideration.  That may have been the hope of the persecutors when they removed the main segment of the lower rust line, but that hope has now been frustrated.  Instead, the removal of the rust-line segment now constitutes evidence of further tampering, and is now included among the charges in the indictment for which the John Demjanjuk persecutors stand on trial today in Munich.

The same white labels on three other cards don't cause seepage

As can be appreciated in the image below of the smaller of the two white labels attached to Trawniki 1393 — the Demjanjuk Card — a liquid seems to have been applied to the label and to have seeped into and darkened the card in a substantial margin around the label.

White label on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, with dark margin indicating seepage of mystery liquid
Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card, Dienstausweis Nr. 1393, label surface.  Darkened margin indicates seepage of mystery liquid.  Grunge along with trapped fibers or hairs indicate third-world laboratory slovenliness, or perhaps a deliberate projection of such slovenliness so as to make signature-obliteration appear to be the inadvertent result of slovenliness rather than of deliberate evidence tampering.  Add to the evidence of slovenliness the black pen marks that have accumulated on the card in recent years: the two underneath the label shown above, and one of the two at the base of the inside of the card as well.


The question now arises of whether such a soak-border as is evident immediately above, or the soak-through to the other surface of the card that we have seen higher above, are typical of other cards that have similar white labels attached, or whether they are restricted to the Demjanjuk card, and restricted more particularly to the smaller label on the Demjanjuk card, the label which just happens to overlap the Demjanjuk signature on the opposite surface of the card.

The first row below shows the same Munich-Version Demjanjuk Card that we have already seen above, repeated here to facilitate comparison with rows two to four which show similar white labels on three other cards, the set of four cards representing the only high-definition images of Trawniki ID Cards released by the Munich prosecutors.

Inspection of this collection of images, along with a reading of their captions, leads to the conclusion that the soak-border, and mirror-image soak-through, and handwritten-ink bleeding are not necessary concomitants of label affixing, as all three phenomena are observed in connection with only the label which overlaps the [Demjanjuk] signature, and as two of the three (some soak-border and considerable soak-through but no handwritten-ink bleeding) are observed only in the larger of the two labels on the Demjanjuk card.


COMPARISON IN FOUR TRAWNIKI ID CARDS OF SOAK-BORDERS AROUND LABELS, MIRROR-IMAGE SOAK-THROUGHS, AND INK BLEEDING

John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, OUTSIDE, dark soak-borders visible around white labels DEMJANJUK Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Outside.   Note the dark soak-border around each label, particularly the broad soak-border around the smaller label. John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Munich version, INSIDE, dark soak-throughs visible in areas corresponding to white labels DEMJANJUK Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Inside.   Note the two mirror-image soak-throughs, particularly the darker one corresponding to the smaller label within which has been observed the ink-bleeding of the [Demjanjuk] signature.
Juchnowskij Trawniki ID Card 847, Munich version, OUTSIDE, large white label lacks a soak-border JUCHNOWSKIJ Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Outside.   Large white label lacks a soak-border. Juchnowskij Trawniki ID Card 847, Munich version, INSIDE, no soak-through or handwritten-ink bleeding visible JUCHNOWSKIJ Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Inside.   No mirror-image soak-through, or handwritten-ink bleeding (expected along the top of the Ausgegeben signature), are detectable.
Wolembachow Trawniki ID Card 1211, Munich version, OUTSIDE, no mirror-image soak-through or handwritten-ink bleeding visible WOLEMBACHOW Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Outside.   No mirror-image soak-through from the white label now on the inside of the card, or handwritten-ink bleeding, is apparent.  Correspondingly, the rip-patching-strip glued horizontally along the crease above (presumably by Wolembachow, as evidenced by translator Bazilevskaya's handwriting overlapping it) can be seen to leave no mirror-image soak-through on the inside surface. Wolembachow Trawniki ID Card 1211, Munich version, INSIDE, white label lacks a soak-border WOLEMBACHOW Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Inside.   White label lacks a soak-border.
BONDARENKO Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Outside   IS UNAVAILABLE. Bondarenko Trawniki ID Card 1926, Munich version, INSIDE, white label lacks a soak-border BONDARENKO Treblinka ID Card, Munich Version, Inside.   White label lacks a soak-border.

The John Demjanjuk persecutors responsible for obliterating the Demjanjuk signature did everything wrong from the point of view of competent and responsible laboratory procedure, but did everything right from the point of view of weakening the legibility of the Demjanjuk signature:

  1. They attached labels to the Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card when they could have spared the card by attaching the same labels to the plastic envelope in which the ID Card was housed.

  2. They attached large labels when they could have attached minuscule ones.

  3. They attached the labels where damage would be done to the part of the card containing information most supportive of the defense, and where alternative areas were available which contained no information on either surface of the card.

  4. Using label attachment as an excuse, they applied a mystery liquid to both label areas of Trawniki 1393, and more profusely to the smaller-label area, and which they did not apply to the label areas of three other cards, and which mystery liquid seemed able to penetrate the paper of the card and dissolve ink writing on the opposite face.

The above accumulation of four procedures — where every one of them constituted unacceptable and inexcusable laboratory practice, and where their combined effect must have been understood by all who were involved to be destructive of probative evidence — points to culpable deliberation rather than mere incompetence or inadvertence.

THE DEMJANJUK SIGNATURE IS FORGED

What's wrong with the Demjanjuk signature?

What exculpatory features does the Demjanjuk signature on the Trawniki ID Card have that would motivate the Demjanjuk persecutors to obliterate it?

This question is answered in the course of comparing the Trawniki signature to known signatures and known handwriting of John Demjanjuk, as for example in two of his letters written from Ayalon Prison in Ramla, Israel, the first with a fountain pen holding black ink on a letter dated 22 Jun 1988, and the second with a blue ballpoint pen on a letter dated 12 Aug 1989, and from which the two signatures below have been extracted, in both cases from the very bottom of the page where they have been somewhat cramped by John Demjanjuk's running out of space while he had not yet run out of words.  The missing postage stamps on the earlier of the two envelopes were possibly appropriated by a stamp collector.

John Demjanjuk upper envelope from Ayalon Prison, Ramla, Israel, containing letter of 22 Jun 1988 John Demjanjuk upper envelope from Ayalon Prison, Ramla, Israel, containing letter of 12 Aug 1989
John Demjanjuk envelope top containing letter dated 22 Jun 1988
from which came the black ink pen signature
John Demjanjuk envelope top containing letter dated 12 Aug 1989
from which came the blue ballpoint pen signature

Authentic black-ink signature of John Demjanjuk 22 Jun 1988
Authentic Demjanjuk Black Ink Signature of 22 Jun 1988

Authentic blue-ballpoint-pen signature of John Demjanjuk 12 Aug 1989
Authentic Demjanjuk Blue Ballpoint Pen Signature of 12 Aug 1989

And here are two more authentic Demjanjuk signatures thrown in for good measure:

Authentic John Demjanjuk signature of 01 May 1990 Authentic John Demjanjuk signature of 22 Nov 1991
Authentic Demjanjuk signature of 01 May 1990 Authentic Demjanjuk signature of 22 Nov 1991


And for more handy reference, the Trawniki ID Card signature which is to be compared to the authentic signatures above:

Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #1  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #2  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #3  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #4  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #5  Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #6
Trawniki ID Card signature, Online Version followed by six different enhancements


The Trawniki ID Card signature differs from authentic Demjanjuk signatures in several ways, of which the three below might be among the more important.

(1)  Two things can happen between characters

The above four authentic signatures, known to be John Demjanjuk's, demonstrate that he signs his surname in discontinuous characters, lifting his pen between each character so as to leave a gap, with the exception that he always does join [n]-[ju] and that in a single instance, he also joined [ju]-[k].  In contrast, the Trawniki signature is written continuously, with no pen lift and thus no gap between letters, with the exception, of course, of the inescapable pen lift and gap between the initial capital [D] and the [e] that follows.

(2)  Two ways of writing an [n]

At the top of the instant page we saw that the Cyrillic [n] looks like two vertical posts with a horizontal connector, the writing of that connector beginning at the bottom of the first post, and the connector when completed consisting of a single line, as can be appreciated on the Trawniki ID Card in the writing of professional translator Bazilevskaya who writes in Russian, but where the writing of Ukrainian and Russian [n]s is identical.  The Bazilevskaya fragment reproduced below shows a double [n] in the word on the upper-left, and another double [n] in the word on the lower-right, and finally a single [n] in the middle of the three-character word on the lower-left.

One may allow oneself to be reminded at this and other junctures that the Demjanjuk signature on the Trawniki ID Card is the most important piece if information on that card, and for that reason should have been afforded special protection by the keepers of that card, and also should have been reproduced by the keepers with at least the same clarity as the Bazilevskaya writing below, and should have been distributed by the Munich prosecution to the defense and online to the public.  The fact that the best available reproduction of that Demjanjuk signature is in reality the pitiful Online Version that we are forced to make do with is evidence of the fear the persecutors have of what an unobstructed view of that signature would reveal, or at least what it would have revealed had they not obliterated it.  As of now, the clearest view of the Trawniki ID Card's Demjanjuk signature might be hypothesized to lie not on the card itself, obliterated as it is, but on a high-resolution variant of the Online Version created prior to the card's being tampered with, a variant probably in the possession of the Kremlin, but that is currently being kept from both the defense and the public.

Fragment from the Bazilevskaya translation on John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393 showing five instances of her conventional writing of the Cyrillic letter [n] Fragment from the Bazilevskaya translation on the Trawniki ID Card showing her conventional writing of five Cyrillic [n]s


And what is evident in the Trawniki signature is that its [n] is the conventional [n] discussed at the top of the instant page and that is displayed in Bazilevskaya's writing, and which we will call here the "progressive" [n] in recognition of its connector being written from left to right, in the same direction as the word as a whole is being written.  It should be noted that the entire progressive [n] is written without a pen lift, and that the writer exits his progressive [n] through the bottom of the second post.

However, what is evident in the four known authentic Demjanjuk signatures above is that John Demjanjuk writes his [n]s quite differently: he performs a pen lift between posts, and begins his connector from the bottom of the second post, then loops back in an attempt (not always successful) to make contact with the first post, and from there shoots forward again, to the right, exiting his [n] by crossing the lower-middle of the second post, and in this process creating a connector which is two lines thick.  Let us call this manner of writing [n] "retrogressive" in recognition of the fact that the connector begins to be written moving from right to left, which is to say backwards within the word.

The difference between progressive and retrogressive [n]s is radical, and therefore of the utmost importance, and it is also of the utmost importance to determine whether John Demjanjuk ever wavers from his commitment to writing his [n]s retrogressively, in test of which the first twenty of his [n]s within each of the two letters identified above are reproduced below, an examination of which discovers that although John Demjanjuk's [n]s vary considerably, not only within one page, but also within one line, and even within one word, yet they never vary in the path they follow, and that path is the one we have labelled the retrogressive path, and the one that we have noted creates a double-line connector springing upward from the base of the second post, and then moving left and exiting the character [n] not out the bottom of the second post, but by crossing the second post at some point above its bottom.  And neither does John Demjanjuk deviate from the retrogressive path in the [n]s beyond the twentieth in either of his two above letters, nor in even a single case within the hundreds of [n]s that I have examined in many other John Demjanjuk letters.


First twenty [n]s — all RETROGRESSIVE — written by John Demjanjuk in his black-ink letter of 22 Jun 1988.    Compare to PROGRESSIVE Trawniki [n]:   Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #2

 1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9  10
 11  12  13  14  15
 16  17  18  19  20



First twenty [n]s — all RETROGRESSIVE — written by John Demjanjuk in his blue ballpoint pen letter of 12 Aug 1989.    Compare to PROGRESSIVE Trawniki [n]:   Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #2

 21  22  23  24  25
 26  27  28  29  30
 31  32  33  34  35
 36  37  38  39  40


(3)  Different ways of writing a [ja]

    Demjanjuk Trawniki
Five different ways of writing the Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393
1 2 3 4 5

As has been already noted above, the two Latin characters [ja] in the English-transliterated "Demjanjuk" stand for a single Cyrillic character which looks like a capital R facing backwards, and which is pronounced something like the "ya" in "yard".  In the examples opposite, at (1) the Cyrillic [ja] is spread out to show how it is formed, and at (2) it is shown written properly, not spread out.  At (3) is a spread-out demonstration of how the stem is sometimes not carried right to the top the way it should be, and at (4) is demonstrated that when such a shortened stem is better aligned with the oval, its shortness is not as readily apparent.  All the Demjanjuk [ja]s in his four authentic signatures above and in the forty additional samples below correspond most closely to versions (3) and (4).  The Trawniki signature, in contrast, corresponds to version (5), which is radically different — the stem is very short, does not reach a sharp peak but is rounded, and is displaced far to the right.

Examining the Russian written on the Trawniki ID card by MGB translator Z. Bazilevskaya, putatively on 12-Mar-1948, we find the five instances shown below of her writing a [ja], all in a manner resembling the Trawniki-signature [ja] in its blunting, or in her case one might say amputation, of the upward stem, although in the last three of the instances shown completing her [ja] on a downstroke because there was no ensuing letter to which to join — in the middle example because the [ja] appeared at the end of her own signature, and in the last two examples because in her rendering of [Demjanjuk] she wrote in disconnected letters, to enhance clarity one imagines.  But when there is an ensuing letter to which connection is desired, as in the first two instances, we see her continuing her "ja" into an upstroke so as to connect.

Bazilevskaya handwritten Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Instance #1  Bazilevskaya handwritten Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Instance #2  Bazilevskaya handwritten Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Instance #3  Bazilevskaya handwritten Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Instance #4  Bazilevskaya handwritten Cyrillic letter [ja] on the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card 1393, Instance #5
Five Bazilevskaya handwritten [ja]s on the Trawniki ID Card
 
 

A hypothesis which suggests itself at this point is that someone who does a lot of writing, like Bazilevskaya, may be predisposed to cut corners, both figuratively and literally, such that her departure from the schoolbook [ja] may be seen as a simplification which facilitates writing, and thus may be seen as a gain in efficiency, and therefore seen also as a mark of a mature writer, and who once he or she has practiced a simplification will find burdensome the idea of reverting back to the more laborious schoolbook original.  If such is the case, then the [ja] in the Trawniki Demjanjuk signature may also be taken to be indicative of a mature writer, one who has become habituated to practicing an efficiency, and so one who is unlikely to revert to the schoolbook [ja] with its sharply-peaked stem, so that when we see John Demjanjuk writing exactly such a school-book and inefficient [ja] with its sharply-peaked stem, we infer that he cannot have earlier been the mature writer of the Trawniki signature.

This Trawniki [ja], incongruous with known John Demjanjuk [ja]s, catches the attention not only of ourselves but also of John Demjanjuk testifying in an American court:

Q:  Is this your signature?
A:  I don't think so
Q:  But you are not sure?
A:  I never wrote the letter 'Ya" the way it is written here"


Quoted in Verdict, State of Israel v Ivan (John) Demjanjuk, Date of judgement edition, 18 Apr 1988, p. 0656.  All errors and irregularities are in the original.


First twenty [ja]s written by John Demjanjuk in his black-ink letter of 22 Jun 1988.    Compare to Trawniki [ja]:    Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #2

 1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9  10
 11  12  13  14  15
 16  17  18  19  20



First twenty [ja]s written by John Demjanjuk in his blue ballpoint pen letter of 12 Aug 1989.    Compare to Trawniki [ja]:    Forged John Demjanjuk signature on Trawniki ID Card 1393 Online version, enhancement #2

 21  22  23  24  25
 26  27  28  29  30
 31  32  33  34  35
 36  37  38  39  40


FORGED AND OBLITERATED

The hypothesis that the [Demjanjuk] signature on the Trawniki ID Card is forged is supported by the observation of three radical differences between it and known signatures of John Demjanjuk: in the Trawniki signature, the letters are connected, the [n] is progressive, and the [ja] stem is truncated and rounded, and displaced rightward; in authentic John Demjanjuk signatures, the letters are mainly disconnected, the [n] is retrogressive, and the [ja] stem is sharp and aligned with the oval of the [ja].

Several comparisons support the conclusion that the [Demjanjuk] signature has been deliberately degraded:

  1. Whereas the Streibel and Teufel signatures became more legible on the high-resolution Munich Version of the Trawniki ID Card, the [Demjanjuk] signature deteriorated to the point of illegibility.

  2. The only other bearer signature to be found among the four Trawniki ID Cards whose images the Kremlin has allowed to be released in high resolution — that of Bondarenko — is eminently legible, and also happens to correspond in legibility to the enumeration numbers written above it.  The [Demjanjuk] signature is grossly inferior in legibility both to the Bondarenko signature and to the enumeration numbers written above the [Demjanjuk] signature.

  3. A dark, rectangular splotch overlaps the [emjanjuk] portion of the signature, and so appears to be responsible for the loss of legibility of that part of the signature.  This splotch is referred to here as mirror-image soak-through because it corresponds to the location and shape of the white label affixed to the opposite surface of the card.

  4. The [emjanjuk] portion of the signature that falls within the soak-through rectangle is degraded in comparison to the base of the [D] which does not fall within the soak-through rectangle.

  5. Three other cards that have similar white labels attached to them show neither the soak-border nor the soak-through nor the handwritten-ink bleeding that is characteristic of the smaller of the two white labels attached to the Demjanjuk Trawniki ID Card.

The above constellation of observations invites the conclusion that John Demjanjuk's persecutors obliterated the [Demjanjuk] signature on Trawniki ID Card Dienstausweis 1393 because it contained indications that it had been forged.

One has to wonder whether the owners of the Trawniki ID Card — presumably the occupants of the Kremlin — set limits on who was permitted to lay hands on the card, and what exactly they were allowed to do with it.  One imagines that the Kremlin must have imposed restrictions.  One imagines that in the case of a document of such historical significance and international prominence, the Kremlin would have kept close control; it certainly did whenever the defense asked to examine the card during the early years of the Demjanjuk persecution.  Perhaps it has been the case in the more recent persecution of John Demjanjuk that the Kremlin was happy to allow whatever damage to the card was necessary to advance the goal of discrediting Ukrainians as sadistic beasts and Nazi sympathizers, which discreditation may be among the chief goals behind the persecution of John Demjanjuk.


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