FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CRM
June 19, 1996                                     (202) 514-2008 
                                             TDD  (202  514-1888

                                                                                           ALLEGED NAZI CRIMINAL FLEES THE UNITED STATES 
                    AND RETURNS TO  LITHUANIA

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced
today that Aleksandras Lileikis, who was ordered denaturalized by
a Federal Court in Boston last month has fled the United States
and returned to Lithuania.  

     The Lithuanian government confirmed today that Lileikis, 88,
arrived last night in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, the city
in which he served during World War II as chief of the Nazi-
sponsored Lithuanian Security Police.

     In his decision issued last May 24,  U.S. District Court
Judge Richard Stearns ruled that Lileikis' activities as head of
the Lithuanian Security Police (the Saugumas in Lithuanian)
"clearly constitute" personal participation in persecution.

     During World War II, 55,000 of Vilnius' 60,000 Jews
perished.  Before their deaths, they  were confined in inhumane
conditions in an overcrowded ghetto with primitive sanitation and
little food.  Saugumas officers arrested Jews attempting to
escape from the ghetto and routinely consigned them to Vilnius'
infamous Lukiskes Prison.  The doomed Jews were then taken 10
kilometers outside of Vilnius to the isolated Paneriai (also
known as Ponary) killing site, where men, women and children were
stripped to their underwear, and gunned down in sand pits by a
group of local volunteers known as the "Special Detachment"
(Ypatingas Burys in Lithuanian).

     The Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and
the U. S. Attorney's office in Boston filed a denaturalization
complaint against Lileikis in September 1994.  For 18 months,
Lileikis resisted efforts by OSI and the U.S. Attorney's office
to force him to answer the allegations that he was a central
figure in the Nazi-directed annihilation of the Jews of Vilnius,
which before World War II was one of the premier centers of
European Jewish life.  Despite court orders Lileikis repeatedly
invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked about his wartime

     The Government filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing
that the evidence against Lileikis was so overwhelming and
uncontroverted that a trial was not needed.  On May 24, Judge
Stearns granted the motion, finding that "tens of thousands . . .
died under his command of the Saugumas."

     Lileikis immigrated to the United States in 1955 and worked
for a printing company near Boston.  At the time of his flight
from the United States, he lived in Norwood, Massachusetts.

     OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said today that "Lileikis'
flight is an important victory in the U.S. Government's ongoing
and intensive efforts to secure a measure of justice on behalf of
the victims of Nazi barbarism."  He disclosed that OSI had shared
its evidence with the Lithuanian government "fully and
completely," and noted that the authorities in Vilnius have said
that they intend to question Lileikis this week.  

     According to Rosenbaum, the access gained by OSI to archives
in the formerly communist countries of eastern and central Europe
after the dissolution of the Soviet Union had "significantly
enhanced" the Department's ability to identify and take legal
action against former participants in Nazi persecution who
immigrated to the United States after World War II.  The Lileikis
prosecution, Rosenbaum added, was a direct consequence of this
access.  Since OSI began operation in 1979, 56 Nazi persecutors
have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 47 persons have been
removed from the United States.  More than 300 persons remain
under investigation.