Cleveland (Mar. 3)
The testimony of two expert witnesses in federal district court here supported the government’s contention that Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk would not have been admitted to the United States in 1950 or granted U.S. citizenship eight years later had he not lied about his activities as a guard in the Nazi concentration camps at Sobibor and Treblinka in Poland during World War II.
The testimony was heard last week, the third week of the trial which has aroused fierce emotions on the part of death camp survivors and Jewish activists on the one hand, and the intensely nation-
alistic Ukrainian community which supports Demjanjuk and claims that his alleged participation in atrocities against camp inmates is based on “distorted” evidence obtained from the Soviet Union.
Demjanjuk denies that he served as a concentration comp guard and claims he was a POW of the Germans at the time in question. But nine survivors flown here from Israel, West Germany and Uruguay to give eye-witness testimony have identified the 60-year-old, heavy-set Demjanjuk as one of the cruelest of the guards, known to inmates as “Iwan Grozny–Ivan the Terrible.”
The case, being heard by Federal District Judge Frank Battisti, is a civil trial to determine whether Demjanjuk, an employe of the Ford Motor Co., obtained entry into the U.S. and citizenship under false pretenses. If found guilty, he could be stripped of citizenship and face deportation proceedings.
TESTIMONY BY TWO WITNESSES
A videotape deposition taken in January from Vienna-born Daniel Segat was introduced last week. Segat was a chief liaison officer of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) from 1948-52, the organization to which Demjanjuk applied for help in establishing displaced persons status and later when filing for U.S. citizenship. Segat stated flatly that anyone known to have been trained by the Germans as a concentration camp guard or to have served as such would have been barred from DP status under IRO guidelines.
The other witness, Leo Curry Jr., who served with the U.S. Displaced Persons Organization in Germany and Austria beginning in 1948 as a “selector” and case analyst, affirmed that Demjanjuk would have been barred from entering the U.S. had his past been known. Curry’s signature appears on the document stating Demjanjuk’s eligibility for DP status.
While the testimony of eye-witnesses and experts was being taken, pickets said to be “Ukrainian nationalists” marched outside the courthouse carrying signs that read, “Holocaust is a Hoax” and “Six Million Lies.” A counter-demonstration was mounted by Jewish groups which unfurled an Israeli flag and waved a sign reading, “Demjanjuk Must Be Judged. We Cannot Be Silent.”