Demjanjuk's Daughter Appears At Trial

MUNICH (AP) - John Demjanjuk's daughter appeared Wednesday at his trial in Munich on charges he was a guard at a Nazi death camp, the first family member to attend since it started more than a year ago.

Irene Nishnic came into court with her son, holding a white rose that she later gave to her father. Demjanjuk, 90, appeared to smile as she took her place in the viewing gallery.

At a break in testimony, Demjanjuk, a retired Ohio autoworker, motioned for the two to come over and they embraced him as he lay in a hospital bed.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, is standing trial on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly having been a guard at the Sobibor camp. He denies the charges.

Nishnic had lunch with her father behind closed doors, and refused to answer any questions both during the break and after the day's proceedings.

During the day, the court heard statements submitted by the defense from a former Ukrainian guard at Sobibor, who is now dead.

The guard, Ignat Danilchenko, allegedly told Soviet officials in 1949 and 1979 that he remembered Demjanjuk from the death camp. In one summary that was previously read into the record at the trial, Danilchenko said he served with Demjanjuk at Sobibor and that Demjanjuk "like all guards in the camp, participated in the mass killing of Jews."

But in the statement read aloud Wednesday, based on a 1985 interview with Soviet authorities, Danilchenko said none of the Ukrainian guards were able to go in to the areas where Jews were stripped of their clothes and remaining possessions, and then gassed.

"The watchmen had no access to the second or third zones," Danilchenko said, according to the transcript. "Exclusively, Germans carried out the guard duty" in those areas.

After the statement was read, however, Presiding Judge Ralph Alt noted that Danilchenko had also said that he had learned about the killing of the Jews from his fellow watchmen.

"Such descriptions would not have been possible if watchmen had no access to these areas of the camp," Alt said. "It could be that the witness Danilchenko wanted to downplay his own role and the role of the other watchmen at the Sobibor death camp."

Demjanjuk's defense attorney, Ulrich Busch, has asked that another alleged statement given by Danilchenko to Soviet authorities in 1983-4 be tracked down by the court. The court has not yet ruled on that request.

The trial does not resume until Feb. 22, but Busch said Nishnic is planning to stay in Munich for several days and visit Demjanjuk in the prison hospital where he is being held.