JERUSALEM (May. 5)
Details of a recent photograph of suspected war criminal John Demjanjuk superimposed over a disputed photo on an SS identification card allegedly issued to him in 1942, leave no doubt that the pictures are “of the same man,” an expert witness testified for the prosecution in Jerusalem district court Tuesday.
The faces are “identical,” according to Patricia Smith, a professor of physical anthropology at the Hebrew University. She utilized a sophisticated comparison technique, similar to one described in court last week by Reinhard Altmann, head of the fingerprints and photographic criminal identification bureau of the West German police.
Altmann concluded after his own examination of the photographs that there was a “very high probability” that the picture on the ID card is that of the defendant. The card was issued at the Trawniki camp where the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, a German prisoner of war, allegedly was trained for guard duty at Treblinka. Demjanjuk claims the card, obtained from the Soviet Union, is a KGB forgery.
Smith demonstrated her findings in a video presentation in the courtroom after the three-judge panel overruled objections by the defense. The recent photo of Demjanjuk, made in his prison cell, and the ID card photo were divided vertically and the halves of one were superimposed over the corresponding halves of the other in a feature-by-feature comparison. The features corresponded even though Demjanjuk, 66, was 24 when the ID photo was made, Smith said.
Meanwhile, representatives of the prosecution and defense are preparing to go to West Germany shortly to question three witnesses, some or all of them former SS men who claim to remember the defendant from Treblinka but are unwilling or unable to come to Israel to testify. The court rejected an appeal by Demjanjuk to be allowed to accompany them.