The death of John (Ivan) Demjanjuk on 17 March 2012 in Germany has again drawn public attention to his trial in Israel.
In February 1987 the trial of Demjanjuk, who had been extradited from the U.S., opened in the Jerusalem district court under the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law of 1950. The prosecution argued that during the Second World War Demjanjuk had served as a guard in the Treblinka death camp, and because of his extraordinarily cruel treatment of the prisoners, they gave him the name "Ivan the Terrible". One of the most important exhibits presented by the prosecution was the "Trawniki document", the personal identity card of Demjanjuk from the Trawniki training camp for S.S. guards, which was said to prove that he actually was "Ivan the Terrible". The defence, on the other hand, claimed that the identification of Demjanjuk was faulty and that the "Trawniki document", which had been provided by the U.S.S.R., was a forgery by the Soviet security services.
On 18 April 1988 the judges found Demjanjuk guilty of all charges against him and sentenced him to death. But on 29 July 1993 the Israeli Supreme Court cleared him due to reasonable doubt which had come to light about his identity, and about the authenticity of the Trawniki document. Demjanjuk returned to the U.S. but was later deported and tried in Germany for crimes committed in the Sobibor death camp.
All of the legal material from the "Demjanjuk trial" is held at the Israel State Archives. Here we show the "Trawniki document" as it was presented to the court.
The material from the trial (in Hebrew and other languages) has been scanned and can be seen online on the website of the Israel State Archives:
The Demjanjuk trial in the Jerusalem District Court (Series 31.0/23)
The Demjanjuk trial in the Supreme Court (Appeal) (Series 30.0/33)