BONN (Jun. 16)
A former SS man insisted during three days of intensive cross examination that his identification of suspected war criminal John Demjanjuk as the Treblinka death camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” was positive and correct.
Otto Horn, 87, himself a guard at Treblinka, was questioned in a West Berlin court by the Israeli prosecution team and Demjanjuk’s American lawyer, Mark O’Connor, in the presence of the three Israeli judges hearing the case. The proceedings ended Monday. The Demjanjuk trial will resume in Jerusalem district court on June 22.
Horn, who spent 10 hours in court on each of the three days, identified Demjanjuk from eight photographs of SS men. He pointed repeatedly to two photographs, one taken in SS uniform in 1942 and the other when Demjanjuk applied for U.S. citizenship in 1952.
O’Connor agreed that the photos were of Demjanjuk but argued that they are not identical with the guard known as “Ivan.” Horn would not be shaken. O’Connor questioned his reliability as a witness. Horn was tried 20 years ago for complicity in murder and other Nazi atrocities but was acquitted by a Dusseldorf court for lack of evidence.
Horn said at the hearings in West Berlin that he had seen “Ivan” harass Jewish inmates as they were marched to the gas chambers but did not see him actually operate the death machinery.