BONN (Jun. 8)
The three judges presiding at the Jerusalem trial of suspected war criminal John Demjanjuk arrived in West Berlin Monday to interview witnesses who may be able to identify the Ukrainian – born defendant as a guard at the Treblinka death camp.
Judges Dov Levin, Dalia Dorner and Tzvi Tal will question former SS man Otto Horn in a West Berlin courtroom, beginning Tuesday. Horn, who was a guard at Treblinka, is believed to have known Demjanjuk personally. He is presently retired and living in West Berlin.
The prosecution case hinges on establishing beyond doubt that Demjanjuk is the Treblinka guard who operated the gas chambers and earned the name of “Ivan the Terrible” for his brutality. The defense maintains that the former automobile worker from Cleveland, Ohio, who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and became the first suspected war criminal to be extradited to Israel, is a victim of mistaken identity. In the three months since his trial opened in Jerusalem district court he has been identified by more than a score of Treblinka survivors as “Ivan.” The defense has sought to discredit their testimony on grounds that it is impossible to make positive identification more than 40 years after the events.
The prosecution is attempting to bolster its case with the testimony of former SS guards who supposedly are neutral with respect to Demjanjuk.