Former Treblinka Workers Say Demjanjuk Was Not ‘Ivan’
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Ukrainian women who served as forced laborers at a Nazi death camp during World War II claim the notorious guard ″Ivan the Terrible″ was not retired Cleveland autoworker John Demjanjuk, a newspaper reported.
Demjanjuk, 72, was convicted on war crimes charges in Israel in 1988 for being Ivan the Terrible, the man who ran the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. He is appealing his death sentence.
Three of the women interviewed by The Plain Dealer at their homes in Ukraine claimed another man, Ivan Marchenko, ran the gas chambers where 850,000 people, mostly Jews, were put to death in 1942 and 1943.
″I saw Ivan Marchenko quite regularly,″ the newspaper quoted Melania Nezdiyminoha, 67, as saying in its Sunday editions. ″He worked in the part of the camp where they killed the people.″
Nina Shiyenko, 73, identified Marchenko as Ivan the Terrible from a 1941 photograph. The newspaper said she couldn’t recognize Demjanjuk’s 1942 photo.
″I did not see the face. I never heard of this man Demjanjuk at Treblinka,″ she said.
Aleksandra Sumskaya, 67, said she remembered the Germans hollering, ″Marchenko, Marchenko.″
The claims by the women, who said they cooked and did housekeeping for death camp guards, appear to support evidence recently submitted in Israel in Demjanjuk’s defense. Documents from the former Soviet Union contain testimony of former Treblinka guards saying Ivan the Terrible was Marchenko.
Demjanjuk was convicted largely on the strength of testimony of Treblinka’s Jewish survivors, who identified him as the guard.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reopened Demjanjuk’s extradition case in June because it said his 1986 U.S. extradition warrant may have been based on erroneous information.
Nina Aleksandrova, Marchenko’s 65-year-old sister, denied her brother was Ivan the Terrible.
″He went off to war in 1941 and was never heard from again,″ she told the newspaper. ″We were told by authorities he was killed in action.″