A gas chamber operator has testified that the Nazi death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible" fled to Yugoslavia near the end of World War II, according to the defense for John Demjanjuk.
Defense attorney Yoram Sheftel also quoted the operator's testimony as saying that the Treblinka camp guard had black hair, brown eyes, a square face and a scar on the cheek.Demjanjuk, a retired Cleveland auto worker convicted in 1988 of being the sadistic "Ivan the Terrible," was blond in his youth, has a round face and no scar on the cheek.
Demjanjuk, 72, has appealed his conviction and death sentence to the Supreme Court.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk insists he is a victim of mistaken identity and spent most of World War II in German prisoner-of-war camps after being captured as a Red Army soldier in May 1942.
Prosecution evidence places him in Germany from October 1943 to late 1944.
Sheftel argues that the real "Ivan" was named Ivan Marchenko. He has cited testimony by 31 Ukrainian guards at Treblinka who said Marchenko was Ivan and looked different from Demjanjuk.
The guards testified in Nazi war crimes trials in the Soviet Union in the 1940s through 1960s, and their testimony was brought from the Soviet Union by prosecutor Michael Shaked.
On Sunday, Sheftel cited testimony by Treblinka gas chamber operator Nikolai Shelayev who testified that he and Marchenko were transferred from Treblinka to Trieste in July 1943.
There, Marchenko guarded German warehouses and a local prison, Shelayev said.
In 1944, when allied forces were approaching, Marchenko and a driver named Gregory "fled in an armored car to the partisans in Yugoslavia," Sheftel quoted from Shelayev's testimony.
Sheftel asked the court Sunday to release his client without bail based on the latest testimony. In the past, the court has routinely denied the request.
Some 850,000 Jews perished in Treblinka in 1942-43.