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February 20, 1987 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-20

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Demjanjuk Trial
Opens In Jerusalem


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Friday, February 20, 1987


Jerusalem (JTA) — The
trial of John Demjanjuk
opened in Jerusalem District
Court last Monday and im-
mediately became embroiled
in legal argument over the
defendant's identity and the
court's right to try him.
Demjanjuk's American at-
torney, Mark O'Connor, main-
tained that the accused is not
the former Treblinka death
camp guard who was known
to the inmate as "Ivan the
Terrible" because of his
brutality and was held re-
sponsible for the deaths in
the gas chambers of 850,000
Jews and thousands of
Furthermore, O'Connor in-
sisted, the Ukrainian-born
retired automobile worker
from Cleveland, Ohio, is a vic-
tim of evidence fabricated in
the Soviet Union, the victim
of a KGB plot, and that he
was extradited from the U.S.
on a murder charge but is
now being charged with war
crimes, crimes against
humanity and crimes against
the Jewish people.
O'Connor also challenged
Israel's right to bring him to
trial because the alleged
crimes were not committed
on Israel's soil, were not com-
mitted against Israeli citi-
zens, and were not committed
by a citizen of Israel.
Judge Don Levin, president
of the three-judge.panel hear-
ing the case, enjoined O'Con-
nor repeatedly to confine
himself strictly to the matter
of jurisdiction and to leave
the question of identity to a
later stage, after the prosecu-
tion has presented its
evidence. But O'Connor in-
sisted that the issue were in-
tertwined and the court
allowed him to present his
arguments on both jurisdic-
tion and substantial proof.
In addition to Levin, who is
a Justice of the Supreme
Court, the panel consists of
two Jerusalem District court
judges, Dalia Dorner and Zvi


The U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS)
began legal proceedings in
1977 to strip Demjanjuk of
his American citizenship on
grounds that he lied about his
collaboration with the Nazis
when he entered the U.S. In
1984, he was ordered de-
ported as a suspected war
criminal. He was extradited
to Israel for trial in February
1986, a year almost to the day
before the opening of his trial.
The courtroom is a 300-seat
converted cinema house. Its

gallery was packed at the
trial's opening with local and
foreign reporters and televi-
sion camera crews. The
66-year-old Demjanjuk,
father of two, entered the
prisoner's dock flanked by
two policemen.

New Soviet
Book Called

New York (JTA) — A group
of Moscow and Leningrad
Jewish activists have written
to Soviet leader Mikhail Gor-
bachev expressing "feelings
of alarm and concern" over a
recently released book which
appears to revive some of the
most insidious canards of the
infamous Protocols of the
Elders of Zion, it was re-
ported here last week by the
Student Struggle for Soviet
Jewry (SSSJ).
The 254-page book, "On the
Class Essence of Zionism,"
written by A.Z. Romanenko,
was published in 50,000
copies, twice the usual
number for major tomes, the
SSSJ said.
The activists pointed out
that the book claims that
"there was no Inquisition
against Jews, no mass kill-
ings, but 'national liberation
The activists also pointed
out that the book asserts that
"the Jews themselves insti-
gated pogroms in Russia in
the beginning of the century
to start immigration to
America, and, finally, as the
culmination of their cunning,
the Zionists did everything
they could to set the fascists
against the USSR'."

ADL Compiles
Refusenik List

New York — The Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith has published and is dis-
tributing a nearly five-pound
book listing the names of ap-
proximately 11,000 Soviet
Jews who have been re-
peatedly refused permission to
Titled A Uniquely Jewish

List: The Refuseniks of Russia,

the telephone book-sized vol-
ume is being sent to members
of Congress, the U.S. state de-
partment and other federal of-
ficials and will be read at ral-
lies in behalf of Soviet Jewry
on Feb. 26 throughout this
country and 42 other nations.

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