by Lubomyr Prytulak

First posted on  www.xoxol.org/dem/blurb.html   01-Feb-2010, last revised 20-May-2010 11:19am PST

Testimony of retired German judge Hans-Robert Richthof added  22-Apr-2010 10:51pm PST

If some future historian chronicling our time were to sum up John Demjanjuk in a single sentence, say covering his life up to the beginning of the Munich trial, what might that sentence be?

John Demjanjuk photo from the Trawniki ID Card 1319
John Demjanjuk photo on Trawniki ID Card 1393.


Blurb biography of John Demjanjuk, version one

From what the mainstream channels of information have been saying, that blurb biography of John Demjanjuk might run something like this:

John Demjanjuk was convicted by an Israeli court of having been the notorious Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and was sentenced to death, but was saved from hanging by the discovery that it had been another Ukrainian Ivan — Ivan Marchenko — who had really been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

The above nutshell biography has been broadcast for more than two decades, and continues to be broadcast with mounting frequency today, through information conduits around the globe from ABC (American Broadcasting Corporation), AFP (Agence France-Presse), AL JAZEERA, and AP (Associated Press) to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, WASHINGTON EXAMINER, WASHINGTON POST, and WIKIPEDIA, as is illustrated at ivan-now-quotes.html.

The evidence for the above widely-repeated Ivan-the-Terrible story is summarized in the 1988 Israeli verdict convicting John Demjanjuk of having been Ivan the Terrible, based on the testimony of six Treblinka survivors: Pinchas Epstein, Eliyahu Rosenberg, Yechiel Reichman, Avraham Goldfarb, Avraham Lindwasser, and Gustav Boreks.  The following excerpt from the testimony of Pinchas Epstein is typical:

Ivan would come out of this room [the gas chamber] and would rain murderous blows on us with the pipe.  Sometimes, he would come with a dagger, sometimes with a bayonet, and he would crack skulls, he would cut off ears, he would brutalize the prisoners, it is absolutely unbelievable, unbelievable, and he would stand next to the corpses and gaze upon them.  I want to say, honorable court, that it was horrible to look at the corpses when they took them out of the cabins [gas chambers].  People with crushed faces, people with stab wounds, pregnant women with stab wounds in their bellies, women with the fetus hanging half out, young girls with stab wounds on their breasts, with eyes gouged out.  I find it difficult to portray this scene ... how those victims looked.  [...]  Ivan was someone whom I find difficult to compare with anything, not even with an animal, because I know that an animal, if sated, does not attack...  Ivan was insatiable, he would look for prey all day long, every minute, so that I can't even compare him with an animal, he was never satisfied.

The Israeli court's summary of Ivan the Terrible can be read at verdict-israel.  Square-bracketed dots above indicate ellipsis by Lubomyr Prytulak; unbracketed ellipsis dots were in the original verdict.

"Notorious" is the qualifier most often attached to Ivan the Terrible, and it will prove instructive to review the reasons why Ivan the Terrible is rightly considered to be notorious.  In the first place, Ivan the Terrible's deeds were unparalleled.  No one else's savagery compared with his.  No one else's brutality deserved to be mentioned in the same breath.  No eyewitness in the Israeli trial ever recollected any other Watchman guard or SS German as being almost as cruel as Ivan the Terrible, or as striving to emulate Ivan the Terrible, or as joining in Ivan the Terrible's orgy of maiming and slaughter.  In addition, Ivan the Terrible's deeds were incessant — his sadism being insatiable, it found expression from morning to night, day after day.  Also, Ivan the Terrible's deeds were prolonged — he did not perform them within a day or within a week or even within a month, but over the course of eleven months.  Furthermore, Ivan the Terrible's deeds were public — he did not perform them in a dungeon or in a secret torture chamber but out in the open in front of everybody.  Lacking the slightest measure of self-consciousness or inhibition, let alone shame or remorse, he cared not in the least how many witnesses stood gaping in horror at what he was doing.  And on top of all that, the viewing distance was often small, so confined was the space at Treblinka, as we are reminded by Pinchas Epstein: "He was always near me, a few meters away.  This happened.  This was such a restricted place, every hour, every second of each day."

Ivan the Terrible was notorious, then, because he committed extraordinarily brutal and sadistic crimes ceaselessly over the course of almost a year and in front of an extensive audience.  It follows, therefore, that everyone at Treblinka knew this Ivan the Terrible, everyone at Treblinka feared him, everyone at Treblinka talked about him.  The images most strongly burned into the minds of the prisoners were images of Ivan the Terrible.  The memories that most plagued survivors for the rest of their lives were memories of Ivan the Terrible.  In the words of the Jerusalem court, "He was their nightmare."  To speak of Treblinka is to speak, first and foremost, of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

With such views as these, the Israeli court expresses unstinted agreement:

No, one cannot forget the scenes of horror, the atmosphere of terror, everything that took place in the extermination camp.  It is impossible to forget Ivan the Terrible and his atrocities.

After hearing the witnesses, and on the basis of our independent impression of their appearance before us, it is clear to us that the history of the Treblinka extermination camp, everything that befell them from the time that their persecution and that of their families commenced, and all the scenes of horror that they witnessed, are all like a fire imprisoned in their bones and that they are deeply ingrained in their memories.  The witnesses constantly relive these experiences.  These, it is true to say, they will never forget.

Verdict in State of Israel v Ivan (John) Demjanjuk, Date of judgement edition, 18 Apr 1988, p. 201.

And so to learn more about Ivan the Terrible, we expect to have to do no more than read any description of Treblinka to discover the words of the six above Israeli witnesses being confirmed and detailed and expanded.  And we might further expect that accounts recorded at the time that the events took place, or shortly afterward, might be more accurate than accounts being offered for the first time fifty or sixty years later.


Six early descriptions of Treblinka that are widely available each comes with its own unique set of recommendations.

@  1943  Jacob Apenszlak: The Black Book of Polish Jewry (BBPJ)

The BBPJ statement on Treblinka comes powerfully endorsed — the book's list of sponsors includes one first lady, one Nobel Laureate whose name has become synonymous with genius, three U.S. Congressmen, one U.S. Senator, one mayor of New York City, one U.S. Cabinet member, and other notables.  On top of such illustrious sponsors, the BBPJ also lists fifteen members of the Publication Committee, five of whom are accorded the title "Dr," and gives special acknowledgment to Abraham Goldberg, former chairman of the Administrative Council of the American Federation for Polish Jews.  The number and prestige of the BBPJ's patrons and sponsors, together with its publication being contemporaneous with the events described, leads us to expect an account of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka that is outstandingly accurate.

@  1944  Vasily Grossman: The Hell Called Treblinka

Upon reaching Treblinka, the Red Army located 40 camp survivors, some still hiding in nearby forests, all of whom Vasily Grossman was able to interview on the spot, along with local Polish peasants.  His resulting essay, The Hell Called Treblinka, is considered one of the most important in Holocaust literature.  If anybody is able to paint a vivid picture of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, it is Vasily Grossman:

Everything written below has been compiled from the accounts of living witnesses, from the testimony of people who worked in Treblinka from the first day of the camp's existence until 02 August 1943 when the doomed prisoners rose up, burned the camp to the ground, and fled into the woods, according to the testimony of an apprehended Watchman which confirmed every word, and often supplemented, the narratives of the witnesses.  These people I met with personally, spoke with at length and in detail, and now have their written depositions lying before me on the table.  And all these numerous testimonies flowing from various sources, converge and corroborate each other in every particular, from their description of the habits of the kommandant's dog Bari to their account of the technology of the murder of the victims and of the automation of the machinery of death.

Vasily Grossman, The Hell Called Treblinka, 1944, Paragraph 22.

@  1945  Samuel Rajzman: American House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Samuel Rajzman's 1945 statement before the American House Committee on Foreign Affairs seems to have laid the foundation for his becoming a prosecutorial prize witness, as evidenced by his being called in February 1946 as the sole witness on Treblinka at the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trials, and after that as one of the prime witnesses in the Dusseldorf Trials, and in 1978 as a prosecution witness against Fedor Fedorenko in Fort Lauderdale.  His being called upon to share his experiences so often and over such a span of years suggests that the authorities staging such proceedings considered that what he had to say was particularly worth hearing.

@  1945-1946  Nuremberg Trials

The 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trials included a review of the Jewish Holocaust, and in 1946 heard testimony on Treblinka from the same Samuel Rajzman who appeared before the American House Committee on Foreign Affairs the previous year.

@  1948  Marian Muszkat: Polish Charges Against German War Criminals

The Polish Charges Against German War Criminals, whose chapter on Treblinka is of interest here, was submitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission by Marian Muszkat, among whose qualifications was his having headed the Polish delegation at the Nuremberg Trials, and was introduced by Henryk Świątkowski, at the time Poland's Minister of Justice, and earlier the head of the Polish team participating in the investigation of the murder of Polish officers at Katyn.

@  1961  Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem

The Eichmann trial reviewed the Jewish Holocaust in considerable detail, with four witnesses shining the spotlight on Treblinka, one of whom — Ya'akov Wiernik — had constructed a model of Treblinka to assist the court, a photograph of which model was used in the 1987-1988 Jerusalem trial of John Demjanjuk.  One benefit of a time lapse approaching two decades between the Treblinka crimes in question and the Eichmann-trial testimony is that ample opportunity has been afforded for previously-overlooked persons and events to be incorporated into the historical record.


We proceed by conducting searches within our six sources for information relevant to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

Ivan Demjanjuk

In the six sources listed above, then, how many times did Treblinka witnesses recall the name Ivan Demjanjuk?  The answer is zero.  The name Ivan Demjanjuk was never mentioned by anyone, nor any name resembling Ivan Demjanjuk.

Ivan Marchenko

In response to the above letdown, it can be argued that it has now been conceded that Ivan Demjanjuk was never at Treblinka, conceded because it was discovered that it was Ivan Marchenko who really was Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Therefore, it is the name Ivan Marchenko that we should be looking for.  So, then, how many times was Ivan Marchenko mentioned in the six above sources?  Here too, the answer proves to be zero.  Ivan Marchenko was never mentioned, nor any name resembling Ivan Marchenko.

Ivan the Terrible

A response to the above two disappointments might be to hypothesize that all Treblinka survivors had been satisfied to refer to the monster of Treblinka as Ivan the Terrible (or Ivan Grozny, or Grozni, as that nickname is rendered in Russian), but that they somehow never took the trouble to learn his real name.  What should be searched for instead, it could be proposed, is how many times Ivan the Terrible is referred to in the six authoritative sources.  And what we discover is that this count too comes up with a zero.  No witnesses in any of our six authoritative sources recollected any Ivan the Terrible or any Ivan Grozny.

Any Ukrainian monster

In response to the three above setbacks, it is possible to speculate that a Ukrainian monster of Treblinka did exist, but that the name Ivan the Terrible is an embellishment added some thirty-five years later.  That is, one may conjecture that images of a genuine monster of Treblinka had indeed been seared into the survivors' memories and so that the monster himself was remembered, but the monster's nickname had not been seared into memory, and so the nickname was misremembered.  Let's have the list of all Ukrainian monsters that have been described in the six authoritative accounts above, no matter what their names or nicknames.  But again, the count comes up with exactly zero.  Not a single one of the six authoritative accounts above describes any Ukrainian monster.  There are insatiable killers and sadistic torturers galore, and their deeds are recounted and their names are recited — but they are all German, every last one of them, as can be confirmed by consulting the six authoritative sources which can be accessed by clicking the red ampersands above.

Ukrainians generally

As there admittedly were Ukrainians among the perimeter guards (along with Ukrainian-domiciled Volksdeutsche and Russians and Estonians and Latvians and Lithuanians and others) then it is to be expected that Ukrainians would have received some mention in the six accounts, and they did, as detailed below, but surprisingly rarely, and with a culpability that is dwarfed by German culpability.

Any other Ivan

Returning finally to our counts, we might ask how many times Ivan is mentioned in the six above authoritative sources — not Ivan the Terrible, just plain Ivan — and here the count returns a value of exactly one, and that one is the Ivan mentioned by Eliyahu Rosenberg at the Eichmann trial that we noted immediately above.

Creating a composite image

It is to be expected that the creators of today's mythical Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka had some acquaintance with early sources such as the six above, and borrowed details from them here and there to paste into a composite which they offered to the world under the name Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Might we, then, be able to discover within the six above sources anything by way of scattered fragments that may have been incorporated into today's story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka?  Indeed we can, beginning with Eliyahu Rosenberg's Ivan at the Eichmann trial that we saw just above, whose absence of insatiable sadism can be made up by borrowing from Muszkat's two Germans who cut off breasts:

7.  Leon FINKELSZTEJN: "Bilitz Alfred and Gens Adolf stood at the entrance to the gas chambers and cut women's breasts off with long knives..."

The same is repeated by Hejnoch Brener and Blacharski Zygmunt who also saw Bilitz cutting women's breasts off.

Marian Muszkat, Polish charges against German war criminals, Polish Main National Office for the Investigation of German War Crimes in Poland, 1948, p. 195, ellipses were in the original.

And our composite Ivan the Terrible is so far also lacking personal weapons of pipe and saber, but each of these can be borrowed from two guards described by Grossman: "The tall one held in his hands a massive, meter-long gas pipe and a whip; the other was armed with a saber" (paragraph 68).

What is still needed but unavailable from our six sources is the full nickname Ivan the Terrible, and John Demjanjuk's (if that's who's being framed) physical characteristics tall, strongly-built, blond, and 23 years old where the closest any source provides is Grossman's tall, strongly-built, black-haired, and 30: "They were sadists and maniacs — one was tall, about thirty, with massive shoulders, with a dark-skinned, laughing, merrily-excited face, and black hair; the other, younger, short, with brown hair and pale-jaundiced cheeks, as if he had taken a strong dose of quinine" (paragraph 67).

What the evidence invites us to conclude

If a notorious Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka had existed, then all early witnesses would have spoken of him.  As no early witnesses spoke of him, he could not have existed.  Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, then, might be considered a fiction or a fable or a myth or a hoax or a publicity stunt — at least if the choice of words were left to an indulgent speaker.  Recollecting that the purpose of the Ivan the Terrible story was to get John Demjanjuk hanged, a less indulgent speaker might prefer to call it a murder weapon.

Blurb biography of John Demjanjuk, version two

In view of this overturn of the conventional understanding of John Demjanjuk, we now imagine that our future historian finds himself needing to edit the blurb biography of John Demjanjuk that he started with above as follows:

John Demjanjuk was convicted by an Israeli court of having been an IMAGINARY Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and was sentenced to death, but was saved from hanging by the discovery that it had been another Ukrainian Ivan — Ivan Marchenko — who had really been that IMAGINARY Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.

Shocking as the above statement may be — especially in a world that has been pre-warned by George Orwell, and so hopefully inoculated against Big Brother brainwashing — examination of further evidence below may force our hypothetical historian to even more disturbing revisions.


Historians know

Ivan the Terrible, if real, would have been guaranteed mention in Holocaust histories, and even in broader WWII histories that touch on Treblinka, by virtue of holding the Holocaust record, and possibly even the all-time world record, for number of victims mutilated and killed by his own hand.  However, the histories on my shelf give no credence to the Treblinka presence of John Demjanjuk or Ivan Demjanjuk, John Marchenko or Ivan Marchenko, Ivan the Terrible or Ivan Grozny, or of any Ukrainian or anyone of any nationality going by any name committing the crimes attributed to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  The list of such books, all of which discuss Treblinka to greater or lesser extent, is reproduced below in order of date of publication, the horizontal line below the first five books serving to distinguish ones published before accusations against John Demjanjuk began to make the papers around 1977 from those published after.  Even Simon Wiesenthal, notorious for his eagerness to lay blame at Ukrainian feet, fails to include Ivan the Terrible among his accusations, either in a book by him (Justice Not Vengeance, 1989) or in a book about him (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993).

  1. Reitlinger, Gerald.  The Final Solution.  Sphere Books Limited, London, 1953.

  2. Reitlinger, Gerald.  The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-1945.  Da Capo Press, 1957.

  3. Shirer, William L.  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1960.

  4. Arendt, Hannah.  Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.  The Viking Press, New York, 1963.

  5. Suhl, Yuri.  They Fought Back: The Story of the Jewish Resistance in Nazi Europe.  Schocken Books, New York, 1967.  Suhl quotes three independent eye-witness accounts of Treblinka, and of the 1943 inmate uprising there, written respectively by Samuel Rajsman, Stanislaw Kon, and by Yankel Wiernick.  None of these three accounts lend any credence to the Ivan the Terrible myth.

  6. Feig, Konnilyn G.  Hitler's Death Camps.  Holmes & Meier Publishers, New York and London, 1979.

  7. Bernstein, Victor H.  The Holocaust — Final Judgment.  Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis and New York, 1980.

  8. Ehrenburg, Ilya & Grossman, Vasily. (Eds.)  The Black Book: The Ruthless Murder of Jews by German-Fascist Invaders Throughout the Temporarily-Occupied Regions of The Soviet Union and in the Death Camps of Poland During the War of 1941-1945.  Holocaust Library, New York, 1981.

  9. Gilbert, Martin.  Atlas of the Holocaust.  Michael Joseph, London, 1982.

  10. Hilberg, Raul.  The Destruction of the European Jews: Revised and Definitive Edition.  Holmes & Meier, New York and London, 1985.

  11. Gilbert, Martin.  The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy.  Fontana/Collins, Glasgow, 1986.

  12. Arad, Yitzhak.  Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987.

  13. Segev, Tom.  Soldiers of Evil: The Commandants of the Nazi Concentration Camps.  McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1987.

  14. Wiesenthal, Simon.  Justice Not Vengeance.  Grove Weidenfeld, New York, 1989.  Simon Wiesenthal reports that Demjanjuk has been extradited to stand trial, but makes no other mention of him, a reading of which statement might lead to the inference either that Wiesenthal believes that John Demjanjuk was a collaborator, or that what he really meant to say was "alleged collaborator": "A number of proceedings against these collaborators (aimed at deporting them from the USA) are now in progress; some have been deported, while others, such as Archbishop Viorel Trifa, Fedorenko and Demjanjuk, have been extradited to stand trial" (p. 157).

  15. Yahil, Leni.  The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945.  Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1990.

  16. Hilberg, Raul.  Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe, 1933-1945.  HarperCollins, New York, 1992.

  17. Levy, Alan.  The Wiesenthal File.  Constable, London, 1993.

  18. Lipstadt, Deborah.  Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.  Plume, New York, 1993.  A single reference is made to Demjanjuk prosecutions in a footnote attacking Pat Buchanan, but in this reference Lipstadt indicates no belief in the accusations against Demjanjuk or in the existence of any Ivan the Terrible: "Buchanan's statements were made as part of his defense of John Demjanjuk, a retired Cleveland auto worker accused of being Ivan the Terrible, notorious camp guard and a mass murderer at Treblinka.  It is not Buchanan's defense of Demjanjuk with which I take issue — it is his use of denial arguments to do so" (p. 6).

  19. Landau, Ronnie S.  The Nazi Holocaust.  Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1994.  Landau makes a single reference to the Demjanjuk trial: "The question of the jurisdiction of Israel to hold trials relating to crimes committed before her birth and on different soil has been raised, most recently during the trial in Jerusalem of John Demjanjuk (accused of being 'Ivan the Terrible' of Treblinka)" (p. 258).  However, although admitting awareness of the proceedings against John Demjanjuk, Landau shows no sign of going along with accusations, and neither mentions Demjanjuk again in his book, nor gives him a place in his list of Principal Characters on pp. 331-335.

  20. Teveth, Shabtai.  Ben-Gurion and the Holocaust.  Harcourt Brace & Company, New York, 1996.

  21. Berenbaum, Michael. (Ed.)  Witness to the Holocaust.  HarperCollins, New York, 1997.

  22. Beever, Antony and Luba Vinogradova. (Eds.)  Vasily Grossman: A Writer at War, A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945.  Vintage Books, New York, 2005.

The first five books above, published before John Demjanjuk was accorded media prominence in 1977, resemble the six authoritative sources that we scrutinized in detail higher above — they simply contain early descriptions of Treblinka which show no awareness of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, or of people soon to be accused of being that Ivan the Terrible.  The remainder of the books from sixth to twenty-second, though, are different.  Their authors did not merely fail to write about Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka because no one had ever heard of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, they failed to write about Ivan the Terrible even though the press was reminding them of him almost daily.  Authors six to twenty-two above were surrounded by anti-Demjanjuk chanters but refused to join the chorus.  They recognized that parroting a palpable fiction would jeopardize their reputation as scholars.  Although the American Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations (OSI) succeeded in eliciting, from a handful of witnesses, fantastic stories about John Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, these stories had not been previously known to historians, and once made known, were denied entry into their writings.

Ben Ferencz knows

And it is not just historians who know the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka to be false.  Everybody knows it — that is, everybody who accesses information beyond what is broadcast by the mainstream media — as for example veteran Nazi-war-crimes prosecutor Ben Ferencz:

JOAN RINGELHEIM:  [...]  Ben, you decided to call no witnesses and you closed the prosecution’s case in three days –

BEN FERENCZ:  Yes, I didn’t call any witnesses, because witnesses are not very reliable.  I could have had thousands of witnesses, the DP camps were full – the displaced persons camps were full of persons who would have been willing to testify, that any one of those defendants was – that he saw them murder his mother and his father.

There was a great deal of hatred and a great deal of fear, and they would have believed it.  Eli Rosenberg, I believe is here in the audience, at least he was before, he may have run away in desperation.  But – oh, there he is, in the back row.  He’s hiding.  Get close to the exit.  That’s a good idea Eli.

Those are the problems, that they would come in and testify, and then on cross-examination they would break down.  That happened in the Demjanjuk case in Israel.  I didn’t need it.  I had their own reports, their own documents.  I broke them down on cross-examination.  They denied the authenticity of the reports.  But, that didn’t hold out.  They came in with all kinds of alibis – that’s why the trial lasted much longer than three days – but I was able to break that down on cross-examinations. So, those were the remarkable features of that trial as well though: not calling any witnesses and finishing in record time – I mean, the prosecution’s case.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, An Evening With Ben Ferencz in Conversation with Joan Ringelheim, 05 Oct 2000  www.ushmm.org/~

What Ben Ferencz tells us — Ben Ferencz whose success in prosecuting Nazi war criminals is second to none — is that it is easy to find thousands of witnesses ready to testify that they saw their mothers and fathers murdered by whatever defendant is placed in front of them, and that such witnesses break down under cross-examination.  The German judges in Munich know this, and the German prosecutors, and the German legislators who write the laws that the German judges and German prosecutors follow, and that is why there is no cross-examination of witnesses in Munich — because those German judges and prosecutors and legislators don't want to see one witness after another being discredited during cross-examination.  Ben Ferencz's attitude of shortening the presentation of the prosecution case and refusing to rely on witnesses is sane.  The Munich court's dragging the trial out indulging a series of confabulating witnesses is insane.

Hannah Arendt knows

And who else knows that Holocaust witnesses are not to be believed?  Hannah Arendt was certainly conscious of it as she watched the Eichmann trial.  In the first quote below, Arendt identifies the cause of Holocaust-witness unreliability — it is that Holocaust witnesses are given immunity from cross-examination, her opening reference to Mr. Hausner being to the Attorney General of Israel, Mr Gideon Hausner, who appeared for the prosecution:

Mr. Hausner had gathered together a "tragic multitude" of sufferers, each of them eager not to miss this unique opportunity, each of them convinced of his right to his day in court.  The judges might, and did, quarrel with the prosecutor about the wisdom and even the appropriateness of using the occasion for "painting general pictures," but once a witness had taken the stand, it was difficult indeed to interrupt him, to cut short such testimony, "because of the honor of the witness and because of the matters about which he speaks," as Judge Landau put it.  Who were they, humanly speaking, to deny any of these people their day in court?  And who would have dared, humanly speaking, to question their veracity as to detail when they "poured out their hearts as they stood in the witness box," even though what they had to tell could only "be regarded as by-products of the trial"?

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil, The Viking Press, New York, 1963, p. 191.

And next Hannah Arendt comments below on the effect produced by such exemption from verification as she describes above, starting with the case of a witness who is accustomed to delivering zany monologue, but who utterly and literally collapses at the mere invitation to dialogue, with Hannah Arendt cautioning that his is an extreme case, the more typical case being a witness merely unable to distinguish fact from fiction:

All but a mere handful of witnesses were Israeli citizens, and they had been picked from hundreds and hundreds of applicants.  (Ninety of them were survivors in the strict sense of the word, they had survived the war in one form or another of Nazi captivity).  How much wiser it would have been to resist these pressures altogether (it was done up to a point, for none of the potential witnesses mentioned in Minister of Death, written by Quentin Reynolds on the basis of material provided by two Israeli journalists, and published in 1960, was ever called to the stand) and to seek out those who had not volunteered!  As though to prove the point, the prosecution called upon a writer, well known on both sides of the Atlantic under the name of K-Zetnik — a slang word for a concentration-camp inmate — as the author of several books on Auschwitz that dealt with brothels, homosexuals, and other "human interest stories."  He started off, as he had done at many of his public appearances, with an explanation of his adopted name.  It was not a "pen-name," he said.  "I must carry this name as long as the world will not awaken after the crucifying of the nation ... as humanity has risen after the crucifixion of one man."  He continued with a little excursion into astrology: the star "influencing our fate in the same way as the star of ashes of Auschwitz is there facing our planet, radiating toward our planet."  And when he had arrived at "the unnatural power above Nature" which had sustained him thus far, and now, for the first time, paused to catch his breath, even Mr. Hausner felt that something had to be done about this "testimony," and, very timidly, very politely, interrupted: "Could I perhaps put a few questions to you if you will consent?"  Whereupon the presiding judge saw his chance as well: "Mr Dinoor [this unlikely name the witness had given as his real one], please, please, listen to Mr. Hausner and to me."  In response, the disappointed witness, probably deeply wounded, fainted and answered no more questions.

This, to be sure, was an exception, but if it was an exception that proved the rule of normality, it did not prove the rule of simplicity or of ability to tell a story, let alone of the rare capacity for distinguishing between things that had happened to the storyteller more than sixteen, and sometimes twenty, years ago, and what he had read and heard and imagined in the meantime.

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil, The Viking Press, New York, 1963, pp. 203-204.  Material within square brackets was in the original.

Norman Finkelstein knows

And who else knows that Holocaust witnesses are not to be trusted?  Norman Finkelstein knows, and so does his mother:

As the rendering of The Holocaust assumed ever more absurd forms, my mother liked to quote (with intentional irony) Henry Ford: "History is bunk."  The tales of "Holocaust survivors" — all concentration camp inmates, all heroes of the resistance — were a special source of wry amusement in my home.  Long ago John Stuart Mill recognized that truths not subject to continual challenge eventually "cease to have the effect of truth by being exaggerated into falsehood."

Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Verso, London and New York, 2000, p. 7.

To an elaboration of the principle that Holocaust survivors can't be believed precisely because they have been exempted from any process of verification, Finkelstein adds the further observation that many of these survivors can't be believed even on their claim of being survivors, and indicates further that Raul Hilberg and Deborah Lipstadt may be not entirely hostile to such a negative evaluation:

Because enduring the camps became a crown of martyrdom, many Jews who spent the war elsewhere represent themselves as camp survivors.  Another strong motive behind this misrepresentation, however, was material.  The postwar German government provided compensation to Jews who had been in ghettos or camps.  Many Jews fabricated their pasts to meet this eligibility requirement.  "If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one," my mother used to exclaim, "who did Hitler kill?"

Indeed, many scholars have cast doubt on the reliability of survivor testimony.  "A great percentage of the mistakes I discovered in my own work," Hilberg recalls, "could be attributed to testimonies."  Even within the Holocaust industry, Deborah Lipstadt, for example, wryly observes that Holocaust survivors frequently maintain they were personally examined by Josef Mengele at Auschwitz.

Apart from the frailties of memory, some Holocaust survivor testimony may be suspect for additional reasons.  Because survivors are now revered as secular saints, one doesn't dare question them.  Preposterous statements pass without comment.  Elie Wiesel reminisces in his acclaimed memoir that, recently liberated from Buchenwald and only eighteen years old, "I read The Critique of Pure Reason — don't laugh! — in Yiddish."  Leaving aside Wiesel's acknowledgment that at the time "I was wholly ignorant of Yiddish grammar," The Critique of Pure Reason was never translated into Yiddish.  Wiesel also remembers in intricate detail a "mysterious Talmudic scholar" who "mastered Hungarian in two weeks, just to surprise me."  Wiesel tells a Jewish weekly that he "often gets hoarse or loses his voice" as he silently reads his books to himself "aloud, inwardly."  And to a New York Times reporter, he recalls that he was once hit by a taxi in Times Square.  "I flew an entire block.  I was hit at 45th Street and Broadway, and the ambulance picked me up at 44th."

Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Verso, London and New York, 2000, pp. 81-82.

Although in his statement below Finkelstein has in mind the Holocaust-industry shakedown of Swiss banks, his complaint of the generous space which the press allots Holocaust-related stories, however fantastic, applies also to Nazi-war-crimes stories, however fantastic, such as the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka:

Using the House and Senate banking committees as a springboard, the Holocaust industry orchestrated a shameless campaign of vilification.  With an infinitely compliant and credulous press ready to give banner headlines to any Holocaust-related story, however preposterous, the smear campaign proved unstoppable.

Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Verso, London and New York, 2000, p. 91.

Boaz Evron knows

Boaz Evron not only knows that Holocaust witnesses confabulate, he views that confabulation as being of such massive proportions as to constitute the second-greatest catastrophe to befall the Jewish people during the twentieth century, an ongoing catastrophe that even today eats away at Jewish credibility like a cancer:

Two terrible things happened to the Jewish people during this century: [First, t]he Holocaust and the lessons drawn from it.  [Second, t]he non-historical and easily refutable commentaries on the Holocaust made either deliberately or through simple ignorance and their use for propaganda purposes among non-Jews or Jews both in Israel and the diaspora constitute a cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel.

Boaz Evron, Holocaust: A Danger for the Jewish People, published in the Hebrew journal Yiton 77, May-June 1980.

Hans Peter Rullman knows

Writers focussing particularly on the John Demjanjuk persecution might bypass making statements about the general unreliability of Holocaust-survivor testimony, and emphasize a conclusion which subsumes that unreliability — that conclusion being the same one that keeps historians from writing about any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka — the conclusion that Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka is a recent fabrication:

First of all, neither in Sobibor nor in Treblinka did there exist a guard named "Ivan the Terrible."  Despite the fact that for 40 years after the war with all available witnesses having been heard, none recalled an "Ivan the Terrible."  To make a long story short: The name "Ivan the Terrible" was invented by the American press after John Demjanjuk became a suspect.

Hans Peter Rullman, Victim of the Holocaust, English translation abridged and edited from the German, Published by UNCHAIN, Newark New Jersey 1987, p. 17.

Pat Buchanan knows

Pat Buchanan not only doubts the existence of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, he grasps how that Ivan could be a composite pasted together from scattered fragments, just as was demonstrated above.  As Pat Buchanan relies on sources other than the six sources examined above, the two fragments which he pieces together differ from the fragments pieced together above:

Did "Ivan the Terrible'" ever exist?

In my judgement, "Ivan the Terrible" is probably a composite of Ivan, the gas chamber operator mentioned by Wiernik, the "enormous brute," the "sadistic giant," of Jean-Francois Cohen-Steiner's "Treblinka," (1966), the huge mesomorph that Polish villagers remember — a monster of a man who wenched and drank in their village near Treblinka, and who either died in the August uprising or perished in the Balkans with other Nazi survivors of the death camp.

The other half of the composite is, I believe, a German, a Nazi, a middle-aged veteran of Hitler's "euthanasia" program, a man Alexander Donat describes as a "hot-tempered, brutal individual and ruthless careerist," seen "running through the camps brandishing his whip and his gun, shouting and cursing," a criminal one SS historian described as a "conceited ogre."  His name was Christian Wirth, but he was known to inmates by a nickname — "Christian the Terrible."  Wirth was killed by partisans near Trieste on May 26, 1944.

Buchanan Answers Ryan, Ukrainian Weekly, 15 Feb 1987, p. 6  ukrweekly.com/~

Blurb biography of John Demjanjuk, version three

The above list of those in the know is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive.  Many more than have been cited above are aware that Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka is a fantasy.  Nevertheless the above list is long enough that we might at this point venture to revise our blurb biography of John Demjanjuk as follows, in which "HISTORIANS" is meant to include all those who had access to WWII information beyond what was being broadcast by the mainstream media:

John Demjanjuk was convicted by an Israeli court of having been an imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and was sentenced to death, but was saved from hanging by the discovery that it had been another Ukrainian Ivan — Ivan Marchenko — who had really been that imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  THROUGHOUT THE PERSECUTION OF JOHN DEMJANJUK, HISTORIANS WERE AWARE THAT THE STORY OF IVAN THE TERRIBLE OF TREBLINKA WAS FICTITIOUS.


It is common in Holocaust literature to find the question being asked of how it was possible that so few rebelled against Nazi homicide.  Hannah Arendt argues in words quoted below that this question is a mask to conceal the more important question of how it was possible that so many collaborated.  In posing such questions, it seems to be agreed that if more had rebelled and fewer had collaborated, the magnitude of the Holocaust would have been reduced.  And in pondering such questions, it seems to be assumed that we are the wiser for having studied the mistakes of the past, and that those mistakes are not being repeated in our own time.  And surely among the greatest of all mistakes is to fail to come to the assistance of men being put to death on trumped-up charges.  Surely even weak collaboration in such a crime is a crime in itself, and surely in the case where protest incurs no danger, then even passive viewing is a crime, if only a moral crime.

What are we to make, then, of all those who, like the knowledgeables above, knew that Holocaust-survivor testimony cannot be trusted, who were certain that Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka did not exist, who if they had spoken out would have exposed themselves to no harm — what are we to make of all such people who nevertheless watched John Demjanjuk being edged toward the gallows but said nothing, every last one of the knowledgeables above except Hans Peter Rullman and Pat Buchanan?

Take as a single example the most respected of all Holocaust historians, Raul Hilberg.  Such is his stature and respect that he would have had to do nothing more than write a single article announcing that Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka did not exist for the world press to repeat his words and for John Demjanjuk to be saved from hanging, but Raul Hilberg never wrote that article.  Had he ventured to publish such an article, he would not have been shot in retaliation, and he would not have been arrested, and he would not even have lost his job, so what kept him from performing this just and humanitarian act?  Raul Hilberg writes a book titled Perpetrators Victims Bystanders, in which he points his finger at the many bystanders who did nothing to stop the Holocaust, but what is he if not himself a bystander, what is he if not a person who can sleep soundly at night when a word from him would save a man, a man innocent of the charges brought against him, from being hanged, and that word remains unspoken?  Raul Hilberg could have phoned the Demjanjuk defense and offered his services as an expert witness at the Demjanjuk trial, but he did not.  Raul Hilberg could have contacted a dozen other Holocaust historians and invited them to join in critiquing the Israeli proceedings, but it seems he didn't do that either.  What is he, then, if not himself a bystander, a collaborator, an accessory to a crime?  And what integrity can he claim for his work if he is ready to let a man be hanged rather than to take a step which would place a hairline crack on that work's smooth facade?  What hairline crack is that?  The hairline crack of broadcasting to the world that Holocaust literature is built on statements of witnesses who can't be believed because their statements are shielded from challenge.

Blurb biography of John Demjanjuk, version four

John Demjanjuk was convicted by an Israeli court of having been an imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and was sentenced to death, but was saved from hanging by the discovery that it had been another Ukrainian Ivan — Ivan Marchenko — who had really been that imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Throughout the persecution of John Demjanjuk, historians were aware that the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka was fictitious, BUT SAID NOTHING, ALLOWING THE MYTH OF IVAN THE TERRIBLE OF TREBLINKA TO PASS UNCHALLENGED, CONTENT TO LET JOHN DEMJANJUK BE HANGED FOR CRIMES THEY KNEW HE DID NOT COMMIT.


Two objections can be made with respect to the heavy blame that today's media places on Ukrainian participation in Nazi killing.

Who was Ukrainian?

The first objection is to the absence of evidence as to how witnesses were able to infer Ukrainian nationality.  In the case of the three putative Ukrainians named within our six authoritative sources above, one is called Rogozo, which is not a Ukrainian name, another is called Nikolai, which is a Russian name, the Ukrainian counterpart being Mykola, and the third is called Ivan, which is likely to be either Bulgarian or Croatian or Czech or Russian or Serbian or Slovene or Ukrainian.  It would seem that relying on name alone fails to identify even one member of this trio as Ukrainian.  So, then, what are these witnesses who speak of Ukrainians relying on?  Perhaps the witnesses have overheard the guards talking to each other, and were able to identify the language they were speaking?  But then the witness's nation of origin needs to be taken into account because a German Jew, or a Hungarian or Romanian Jew, knowing besides Yiddish perhaps only their single non-Slavic nation-of-origin language (German or Hungarian or Romanian in our example), might be unable to distinguish Ukrainian from Russian, or for that matter from Polish or Lithuanian or Latvian or Estonian.  Although exactly this question seems never to have been addressed to any witness, a related question was put to Sobibor survivor Ya'akov Biskowitz testifying at the Eichmann trial, and whose answer seems to be the incongruous one that he could identify Ukrainians by their being Russians:

Judge Halevi  Who were these Ukrainians you mentioned all the time?  Which Ukrainians did you refer to constantly in your evidence?

Witness Biskowitz  These were Russian prisoners of war who went over to the German side.  Of course, the Germans gave them the alternative either to be prisoners or to collaborate.  They guarded the camp.

State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Record of Proceedings in the District Court of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 1992.  The Trust for the Publication of the Proceedings of the Eichmann Trial in co-operation with the Israel State Archives and Yad Vashem — the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.  Printed in Israel at Keter Enterprises, Jerusalem.  Session No. 65, 05 June 1961, p. 1187.

What rational meaning, if any, Biskowitz intended by his answer is unclear; what is clear is that his words taken at face value are contradictory, and that clarification was called for, but instead of requesting clarification, the court's focus shifted and the question of national identification was never returned to.  In view of the sloppiness of witness identification of nationality that is suggested by the considerations above, it may be wondered whether "Ivan" was sometimes not a guard's real name at all, but only a casual allusion to any Slav, just as Fritz was a casual allusion to any German, and just as continues to this day, as for example in the title of a course description at Grinnell College, "History 295: Ivan and Fritz Go to War, The Nazi-Soviet Conflict on World War II’s Eastern Front"  web.grinnell.edu/~.

It may further be hypothesized from the above that Soviet prisoners tended to be called Ukrainian simply because for the most part they were captured and held on Ukrainian territory.  As guards underwent training at the Trawniki camp, evidence concerning Trawniki nationalities may be correlated with camp-guard nationalities, with the most plausible summary being that Volksdeutsche Germans predominated in one as well as the other:

The name lists of some of the Trawniki trainees survived.  They show that the majority of the trainees were Russian ethnic Germans, so-called Volga Deutsche.  Their personnel data are found in the casualties list of SS general J. Stroop who annihilated Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Hans Peter Rullman, Victim of the Holocaust, English translation abridged and edited from the German, Published by UNCHAIN, Newark New Jersey 1987, p. 17.

Two elementary tests of witness competence in identifying nationality would have been to ask them to guess nationality from an array of names, and also to identify languages from hearing them spoken — but of course witness competence in identifying nationality has never been put to even such minimal tests as these, and nationality identification can be suspected of being less reliable than is typically assumed.

Who really provided internal policing for Nazi camps?

More importantly, it is widely recognized that policing inside Nazi camps was performed by Jewish collaborators.  This is evident in the earliest of our six authoritative sources above, the 1943 Black Book of Polish Jewry (BBPJ), where it is Jewish Kapos and auxiliaries who greet arrivals disembarking from trains, who address them in Yiddish, organize them, command them to undress in preparation for a bath, cut the females' hair, and sort the clothing and possessions and valuables left by the victims.  And is it not eminently reasonable that the arriving Jewish prisoners could be counted on to speak the language of their country of origin and Yiddish as well, so that to make himself understandable to the largest number of prisoners, a guard would do best to address them in Yiddish, which is something that a Jewish prisoner-guard would be able to manage, but not a Ukrainian, especially not a 23-year-old Ukrainian villager like John Demjanjuk, whether at Treblinka or at Sobibor.

According to the BBPJ, it is only when the victims begin to move toward the death house that Jewish Kapos and auxiliaries cede control to the German SS, who proceed to whip and club the victims along the path.  And after the victims have been killed, it is Germans who oversee the Jewish dentists and body-disposers and grave-diggers.  No Ukrainian is ever described as making any contact with any prisoner, alive or dead.

Were the BBPJ the only description of this kind, it would carry little weight, but in fact similar accounts are commonplace, as for example that given at Nuremberg by Georg Konrad Morgen who twice asserts that policing inside extermination camp Monowitz, which lay near the concentration camp Auschwitz, was in the hands of Jews — and where if a non-Jew had occasion to set foot, that non-Jew would be German — with perimeter security assigned to guards of several nationalities, Ukrainians in the instant statement trailing the others:

I thoroughly investigated the entire stretch of territory and studied the lay-out and installation.  The prisoners arrived on a side track in closed transport cars and were unloaded there by Jewish prisoners.  Then they were sorted out according to their capacity for work, and here the methods of Hoess and Wirth differed.  [...]

They could have been taken for large bathing establishments and that is what they told the prisoners.  These crematoria were surrounded by a barbed wire fence and were guarded from the inside by the Jewish labour details which I have already mentioned.  The new arrivals were led into a large dressing-room and told to take their clothing off.  [...]

The camp itself was guarded on the outside by special troops of men from the Baltic, Esthonians, Lithuanians, Latvians and also Ukrainians.  The entire technical arrangement was almost exclusively in the hands of the prisoners who were assigned for this, and they were only supervised by an Unterführer from time to time.  The actual killing was done by another Unterführer who let the gas into this room.  Thus the number who knew about these things was extremely limited.

The Trial of German Major War Criminals, Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal Sitting at Nuremberg Germany, Taken from the Official Transcript, Published under the authority of H.M. Attorney-General by his Majesty's Stationery Office.  The Hundred and Ninety-Eighth Day, Thursday, 8th August, 1946, Vol. 20, p. 391.  "Esthonians" is in the original.

Zeroing in on Treblinka itself, deputy commandant Kurt Franz concurs by placing Ukrainians along the perimeter:

In Treblinka I was commander of the Ukrainian guard unit as I had been in Belzec.  In Treblinka as in Belzec the unit consisted of sixty to eighty men.  The Ukrainians' main task was to man the guard posts around the camp perimeter.

Klee, E., W. Dressen, V. Riess.  The Good Old Days.  New York: The Free Press, NY, 1988 as cited in  nizkor.org/~

Testimony given by retired judge Hans-Robert Richthof in the John Demjanjuk trial in Germany reinforces the Kurt Franz statement above:

Judge who jailed Sobibor sub-commander says guards were powerless

  Posted : Wed, 21 Apr 2010 16:30:55 GMT
By : Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Category : Legal (General)

Munich — A German judge who sentenced a Nazi sub-commander of Sobibor death camp to life in jail told the court at the trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich on Wednesday that non-German guards had been powerless at the camp.

Prosecutors accuse former Red Army soldier Demjanjuk, 90, of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews in the Sobibor gas chambers during 1943.  The key evidence is a personnel card that allegedly shows the Nazis trained him at Trawniki and deployed him to Sobibor.

Hans-Robert Richthof, who re-tried sub-commandant Karl Frenzel in the 1980s, said that trial only touched glancingly on the auxiliary guards.  But Frenzel did mention during his trial testimony that there had been a guard named Demjanjuk in a perimeter-security team, he said.

The retired judge specialized in trying Nazi war criminals.

Richthof said the Trawniki-trained guards had no authority to give orders and were mostly employed to guard the outer confines of the wooded site in occupied Poland where the Jews were killed, and would not have played a key role in the "extermination."

The foreign guards were assigned to protecting the camp itself, though they were occasionally ordered to perform executions.

Frenzel was re-tried in Hagen, Germany, re-convicted and given life imprisonment after a 1966 conviction failed on a technicality.

Outside the courtroom, retired judge Richthof told a reporter he did not consider the mere presence of an accused person at the scene of a crime was enough to justify a conviction as an accessory.

"I don't know of any crime where simply being present amounts to guilt," he said.

Demjanjuk, who was deported from his US home last year, has denied the charges, but declined to testify.  In a statement through his lawyers last week, he said the Germans were to blame for actions they forced their prisoners to perform.

Copyright DPA


Describing not just a single camp, but the many camps covered in the Eichmann trial, Hannah Arendt reinforces and broadens the above impression, concluding that Jewish leadership provided indispensable cogs in the Nazi killing machine, not the least of which cogs were the terminal ones at the scene of death:

The well-known fact that the actual work of killing in the extermination centers was usually in the hands of Jewish commandos had been fairly and squarely established by witnesses for the prosecution — how they had worked in the gas chambers and the crematories, how they had pulled the gold teeth and cut the hair of the corpses, how they had dug the graves and, later, dug them up again to extinguish the traces of mass murder; how Jewish technicians had built gas chambers in Theresienstadt, where the Jewish "autonomy" had been carried so far that even the hangman was a Jew.  (p. 109)

The matter of cooperation was twice mentioned by the judges; Judge Yitzak Raveh elicited from one of the resistance witnesses an admission that the "ghetto police" were an "instrument in the hands of murderers" and an acknowledgment of "the Judenrat's policy of cooperating with the Nazis"; and Judge Halevi found out from Eichmann in cross-examination that the Nazis had regarded this cooperation as "the very cornerstone" of their Jewish policy.  But the question the prosecutor regularly addressed to each witness except the resistance fighters which sounded so very natural to those who knew nothing of the factual background of the trial, the question "Why did you not rebel?," actually served as a smoke screen for the question that was not asked.  And thus it came to pass that all answers to the unanswerable question Mr. Hausner put to his witnesses were considerably less than "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."  True it was that the Jewish people as a whole had not been organized, that they had possessed no territory, no government, and no army, that, in the hour of their greatest need, they had no government-in-exile to represent them among the Allies (the Jewish agency for Palestine under Dr. Weizmann's presidency, was at best a miserable substitute), no caches of weapons, no youth with military training.  But the whole truth was that there existed Jewish community organizations and Jewish party and welfare organizations on both the local and the international level.  Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis.  The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people.  (p. 111)

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil, The Viking Press, New York, 1963.

The Jewish people suffered from their collaborators long before they arrived in the camps, starting first under the rule of the Jewish ghetto police, whose numbers are likely to surprise members of the public who have been trusting the mainstream media to give them an unbiased understanding of the world:

The Jüdische Ordnungsdienst, as the Jewish police in the ghettos were called, furnished thousands of men for seizure operations.  In the Warsaw ghetto alone the Jewish police numbered approximately 2500; in Lodz they were about 1200 men strong; the Lvov ghetto had an Ordnungsdienst of 500 men; and so on.

Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, p. 310.

The Munich court's eagerness to punish Nazi collaborators inexplicably does not extend to the Jewish Ghetto police who were indispensable to keeping the Nazi death machine in operation:

The Satanic plan of the Nazis assured that the personal fate of each Jew — whether for life or death — be exclusively left up to the decisions of the "councils of elders" [Judenrat].  The Nazis, from time to time, decided upon a general quota for the work of the camps and for extermination, but the individual selection was left up to the "council of elders", with the enforcement of kidnappings and arrests also placed in the hands of the Jewish police (kapos).  By this shrewd method, the Nazis were highly successful in accomplishing mass murder and poisoning the atmosphere of the ghetto through moral degeneration and corruption.

Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, Neturei Karta of U.S.A., Brooklyn, 1977, pp. 119-120.

Israel Shahak's classic letter concerning the Jewish ghetto police is as unlikely to be entered in evidence in the Munich court as it is unlikely to be read on CNN:

Falsification of the Holocaust

Letter to the editor by Prof. Israel Shahak,
published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha'ir, Jerusalem.
Available online at:

I disagree with the opinion of Haim Baram that the Israeli education system has managed to instil a "Holocaust awareness" in its pupils (Kol Ha'Ir 12.5.89).  It's not an awareness of the Holocaust but rather the myth of the Holocaust or even a falsification of the Holocaust (in the sense that "a half-truth is worse than a lie") which has been instilled here.

As one who himself lived through the Holocaust, first in Warsaw then in Bergen-Belsen, I will give an immediate example of the total ignorance of daily life during the Holocaust.  In the Warsaw ghetto, even during the period of the first massive extermination (June to October 1943), one saw almost no German soldiers.  Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators.  Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the planning of which only started after the extermination of the majority of Jews in Warsaw), the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find.  If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started.  The majority of the population of the Ghetto hated the collaborators far more than the German Nazis.  Every Jewish child was taught, and this saved the lives of some of them "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew".

One of my own strongest memories is that, when the Jewish underground killed a despicable collaborator close to my home at the end of February 1943, I danced and sang around the still bleeding corpse together with the other children.  I still do not regret this, quite the contrary.

It is clear that such events were not exclusive to the Jews, the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators, who did most of the dirty work for them.  But does anybody now know about this?  This, and not what is "instilled" was the reality.  Of the Yad Vashem (official state Holocaust museum in Jerusalem — Ed.) theatre, I do not wish to speak at all.  It, and its vile exploiting, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis are truly beneath contempt.

Therefore, if we knew a little of the truth about the Holocaust, we would at least understand (with or without agreeing) why the Palestinians are now eliminating their collaborators.  That is the only means they have if they wish to continue to struggle against our limb-breaking regime.

Kind regards,

[Israel Shahak]

And inside the camps, survivors testify that things were no different, implicitly replacing the facile comment that "Ukrainians were worse than the Germans" with their own conclusion that it was Jews who were worse than the Germans:

Question survivors of the ghettoes and camps.  They all certify that the beatings they received at the hands of the Jewish "golden youth" were filled with scorn.  They fulfilled their tasks with a zeal and cruelty to a greater extent than that required by the German commanders.

Y. Efroiken, Sanctity and Valor of the Jews, in Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, Neturei Karta of U.S.A., Brooklyn, 1977, p. 21.

He [K. Tzetnik] depicts the figure of Eliezer Greenbaum, son of Yitzchak Greenbaum, who, thanks to his tactics of acting as informant and displaying cruelty — to an extent which amazed even the Germans — was elevated to the rank of the bloc commander.

Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, Neturei Karta of U.S.A., Brooklyn, 1977, p. 21.

Practically all of the kapo officers were academicians — persons with degrees — who behaved like wild beasts and at times were more cruel than the Nazis.

Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, Neturei Karta of U.S.A., Brooklyn, 1977, p. 121.

In short, one does not have to read beyond the testimony of Jewish Holocaust survivors to be brought to the question of whether today's Jewish leadership is attempting to deflect attention away from Jewish collaboration in the Holocaust by throwing the accusation at Ukrainians.

Blurb biography of John Demjanjuk, version five

John Demjanjuk was convicted by an Israeli court of having been an imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and was sentenced to death, but was saved from hanging by the discovery that it had been another Ukrainian Ivan — Ivan Marchenko — who had really been that imaginary Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  Throughout the persecution of John Demjanjuk, historians were aware that the story of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka was fictitious, but said nothing, allowing the myth of Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka to pass unchallenged, content to let John Demjanjuk be hanged for crimes they knew he did not commit, CONTENT TO LET JOHN DEMJANJUK BE HANGED FOR A COLLABORATION THEY KNEW WAS MOST COMMON AMONG HIS ACCUSERS.