July 30, 2013

At least 10 suspected Nazis ordered out of U.S. never left

The reason: While the U.S. wanted them out, no other country was willing to take them in. Four are still here.

By Amy Forliti and Randy Herschaft / The Associated Press

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This 1956 photo from a naturalization document released by the U.S. Department of Justice shows Vladas Zajanckauskas, of Sutton, Mass., one of four suspected Nazi war criminals who is living in the U.S. today because no other country was willing to take them.

AP

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This Aug. 31, 2009, photo shows John Kalymon, once known as Iwan Kalymon, at his home in Troy, Mich. Kalymon, from Troy, Mich., is one of four suspected Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. today because no other country was willing to take them.

AP

According to AP's analysis of DOJ records, five other Nazi suspects were ordered deported but remained in the U.S. until they died because no country was willing to take them:

—Osyp Firishchak, 93, of Chicago, died last November, nine months after exhausting appeals. A U.S. judge concluded that Firishchak had lied when he said he was not a member of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, which helped Nazis arrest Jews in large numbers and sent them to labor and death camps. He was born in territory that was then Czechoslovakia and is now part of the Ukraine. He was ordered deported to Ukraine in 2007.

—Anton Tittjung, of Wisconsin, died last year at age 87. Born in a part of the former Yugoslavia that is now Croatia, he was accused of being an armed guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and was ordered deported to Croatia in 1994. He said he was not a Nazi. He exhausted his appeals in 2001 but remained in the U.S. because Croatia would not accept him, saying he was neither born there nor a citizen of Croatia, according to a DOJ report. The U.S. also asked Austria and Germany to accept him; both refused.

—Mykola Wasylyk spent most of his American years in the Catskills region, 90 miles north of New York City, and died in North Port, Florida, in 2010 at age 86. He exhausted his appeals in 2004. He was born in former Polish territory that is now part of Ukraine. Prosecutors say he was an armed guard at two forced labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland, but he claimed he was unaware that prisoners there were persecuted. The United States ordered him deported to Ukraine. At Wasylyk's request, the DOJ amended the order to seek to deport him first to Switzerland. Neither country took him in.

—Michael Negele, died in St. Peters, Missouri, in 2008 at age 87. He was ordered deported to his native Romania or to Germany in 2003, and he exhausted appeals in June 2004. Neither country was willing to take him, the DOJ said. Negele was accused of being an armed guard and dog handler at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany, and later at the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic. Negele had argued he was not involved in any wartime atrocities.

—Bronislaw Hajda, died in Schiller Park, Illinois, in 2005 at age 80. He was ordered deported to his native Poland or Germany in 1998, and his appeals process ended in 2001. But both countries repeatedly refused to accept him, authorities said. He was accused of participating in a massacre of Jews at a Nazi slave labor camp. Hajda had denied the allegations and said he never killed anyone.

Leading Holocaust experts express frustration at the failure to remove such men from the United States.

"That they have been able to live out their lives enjoying the freedoms of this country, after depriving others of freedom and life itself, is an affront to the memory of those who perished," said Paul Shapiro, director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The reluctance of countries to accept suspected Nazi collaborators could become a factor in the case of Michael Karkoc, a Minnesota man identified in an AP investigation last month as a commander in a Nazi SS-led unit accused of massacres.

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