15 April 2010
An ID card being used as a key piece of evidence in the trial against Ivan (John) Demjanjuk appears to be original, an expert witness has told the court in Munich, Germany. The typeset and handwriting on the card matched with that used on four other cards believed to have been issued at the SS training camp at Trawniki, according to a police expert.
Demjanjuk is standing trial on 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder on allegations he was a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor camp in occupied Poland during World War II. He has denied ever being at any Nazi camp and claimed he was the victim of mistaken identity. The 90-year-old could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Anton Dallmayer, from the Bavarian Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said that his examination of the ID cards showed that they were issued by the same person, using the same paper, and that they were printed on the same machine. However, Dallmayer could not confirm if the IDs were made during World War II.
Demjanjuk's attorney Ulrich Busch said that all four ID cards could be fakes. The defense maintains the Nazi ID card showing that Demjanjuk served time in Sobibor is a fake made by the Soviet secret service, the KGB.
The prosecution argues that when Demjanjuk – who served in the Soviet Army – was captured by the Germans in 1942, he volunteered to serve under the SS as a guard. Demjanjuk claims he spent most of the rest of the war in German prisoner-of-war camps before joining the so-called Vlasov Army of anti-communist Soviet POWs and others. That army was formed to fight with the Germans against the encroaching Soviets in the final months of the war.
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