Demjanjuk Attorney Compares Proceedings to Dreyfus Trial
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Demjanjuk Attorney Compares Proceedings to Dreyfus Trial

The trial of accused war criminal John Demjanjuk was thrown into an uproar Wednesday, when defense attorney Paul Chumak likened the proceedings to the notorious Dreyfus trial in France in the late 19th century and refused to retract that remark.

Presiding Judge Dov Levin, furious at the comparison, said that while he does not know what the verdict will be, he would “definitely mention” this in his deliberations with the two other judges on the panel.

“No self-respecting court anywhere in the world, including Canada, would allow such an unfair comment,” Levin told Chumak, who is Canadian.

Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born retired automobile worker from Cleveland, Ohio, is accused of being the Treblinka death camp guard, known as “Ivan the Terrible,” who operated the gas chambers and brutalized Jews.

This trial “has all the earmarks” of the Dreyfus trial, said Chumak, referring to the French Jewish army captain. Alfred Dreyfus, whose conviction for treason on the basis of forged documents, touched off a wave of anti-Semitism in France.