Holocaust Survivor Hurls Acid in Face of Demjanjuk Attorney

A 70-year-old Holocaust survivor hurled acid into the face of Yoram Sheftel, chief defense counsel for convicted war criminal John Demjanjuk, during the funeral Thursday for Dov Eitan, a member of the Demjanjuk defense team.

Sheftel was rushed to a hospital, where doctors treated damage to one eye. A hospital spokesman said his exact condition would not be known for several days.

A woman with him was also treated for slight injuries. Israel Radio identified her as author Edna Shabtai.

Eitan, 53, a retired Jerusalem district court judge and former military court president, committed suicide Tuesday by jumping from the 15th floor of a downtown Jerusalem office building.

According to witnesses, Sheftel’s assailant stepped from the crowd at the Sanhedria Cemetery and threw a bottle of acid at the attorney and the woman. Police immediately arrested the Holocaust survivor, Yisrael Yehekeli.

According to police spokesman Rafi Levy, he is a Jerusalem resident and survivor of the Treblinka death camp.

Yehekeli was said to be in good spirits and in no way remorseful over his act.

Demjanjuk, 68, a Ukrainian-born former American citizen, was found guilty last April 18 of crimes against humanity, crimes against a persecuted people, war crimes and crimes against the Jewish people.

He was identified by witnesses during his 15-month trial here as the Treblinka death camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible,” who operated the gas chambers where some 800,000 Jews perished.

Yehekeli reportedly was a frequent spectator at the trial.

Demjanjuk was sentenced to death a week after his conviction. The High Court of Justice was to begin hearings on his appeal next Monday.

At the request of Sheftel, the court agreed Wednesday to postpone the hearing until May 4, to give the defense time to find a replacement for Eitan.

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