‘ivan’ Trial Defendant Calls Witness for Prosecution a Liar
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‘ivan’ Trial Defendant Calls Witness for Prosecution a Liar

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A Treblinka survivor who identified John Demjanjuk as the brutal death camp guard know as “Ivan the Terrible” was called a liar by the accused as the trial of the 66-year-old Ukrainian born former automobile worker from Cleveland, Ohio entered its third week in Jerusalem district court Monday.

Eliahu Rosenberg, pointing at the accused last Wednesday, told the court, “That is Ivan, I have not a shadow of a doubt.” He has relentlessly cross-examined by Demjanjuk’s American attorney, Mark O’Connor. It was Rosenberg’s third day on the witness stand, and Judge Dov Levin, president of the three-judge panel hearing the case, said it would be the last.

Rosenberg, who testified that he was a member of the prisoner squad forced to clean the gas chambers after each mass killing, was asked by O’Connor why he did nothing to warn his fellow Jews as they were driven to their deaths.


“How could I have helped them?” was Rosenberg’s anguished reply. “I had no contact with living people there . . . If I would have shouted to them I would have been thrown alive into a pit filled with blood.”

At that point, Demjanjuk called from the prisoner’s dock, “You are a liar.” He hurled the epithet in Hebrew, which he was learned since he was extradited to Israel from the U.S. more than a year ago.

O’Connor’s cross-examination is aimed at discrediting Rosenberg by demonstrating that his memory is faulty. He succeeded in finding discrepancies between Rosenberg’s testimony in court and statements he signed at other times.

One related to the date he was brought to Treblinka. Was it during June 1942 or on the eve of Rosh Hashana that year; and how old was he when he gave testimony in the trial of Adolf Eichmann 25 years ago, 35 or 40?

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