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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2002
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
CRM
(202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVES TO REVOKE U.S. CITIZENSHIP OF PARTICIPANT IN THE NAZI LIQUIDATION OF THE WARSAW GHETTO

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Department of Justice initiated proceedings today to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Millbury, Massachusetts man based on his participation during World War II in the Nazis' destruction of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto.

The complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court in Worcester, Massachusetts, alleges that Vladas Zajanckauskas served with the Nazis from mid-1942 until March 1945. According to the complaint, Zajanckauskas trained as a guard at the Nazi-operated Trawniki Training Camp in German-occupied Poland, where he rapidly rose through the ranks to become a guard trainer himself.

The Trawniki camp, run jointly by the SS and the German police, trained Eastern European recruits to assist the Nazis in implementing their plan, code-named "Operation Reinhard," to murder Jews in Poland.

The complaint charges that Zajanckauskas participated as a non-commissioned officer in the notorious operation to clear and destroy the Warsaw Ghetto, the district in which the Nazis forcibly confined Jews from the city and the surrounding areas. When some of the Warsaw Jews resisted removal to Nazi camps, German forces burned down the buildings of the ghetto and asphyxiated Jews by dropping incendiary bombs into the sewer tunnels where they were hiding. The complaint further alleges that in addition to his own direct participation in the action, Zajanckauskas trained other men who carried out the liquidation. The Nazis' operation lasted from April 19 to mid-May 1943.

Prior to the operation, the Warsaw Ghetto held about 40,000 Jews. About 7,000 of the ghetto inhabitants were sent to be gassed at the Treblinka extermination camp, thousands more died in the fighting, and the rest were sent to various Nazi concentration camps and forced-labor sites.

Zajanckauskas, 87, immigrated to the United States in February 1950. The complaint alleges that he concealed his Nazi service when he applied for a visa by telling U.S. officials that he had been a farmer in Lithuania until 1944, fleeing afterwards to Germany and subsequently to Austria.

Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division said, "The filing of this lawsuit demonstrates again the Justice Department's untiring commitment to the pursuit of the perpetrators of Nazi crimes of persecution."

Office of Special Investigations (OSI) Director Eli M. Rosenbaum added, "Zajanckauskas and his men helped ensure that thousands of innocent Jewish men, women and children were violently killed. This case serves as a reminder that the Justice Department will not allow this country to be a haven for Nazi-era war criminals."

The proceedings to denaturalize Zajanckauskas, instituted today by OSI and the United States Attorney's Office in Boston, are a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. Since OSI began operations in 1979, 68 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship while 55 such persons have been removed from the United States. More than 170 U.S. residents are currently under investigation by OSI.

Additionally, 165 suspected Axis persecutors have been stopped at U.S. ports of entry and barred from entering the country as a result of OSI's "Watch List" border control program.

###

02-333


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