FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CRM
TUESDAY, JULY 1, 1997                              (202) 514-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Justice Department today initiated
removal proceedings against a Philadelphia man who served as an
officer and platoon commander in an infamous Nazi unit during
World War II.

     The Notice to Appear (Notice), filed today in U.S.
Immigration Court in Philadelphia by the Criminal Division's
Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the Philadelphia
Office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, alleges
that Jonas Stelmokas, 80, a retired architect, voluntarily joined
the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft (Protective
Detachment) in July 1941.  He allegedly joined shortly after the
German invasion of Lithuania, and served until August 1944, when
he was transferred to the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). 

     "This is an important step on the path to bringing this case
to a just conclusion," said OSI Director Eli Rosenbaum.  "The
inhumane operation of the Kaunas Jewish Ghetto, one of the most
deservedly notorious in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, would have
been impossible without the involvement of Stelmokas and other
Schutzmannschaft officers and men."

     In 1995, the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia stripped
Stelmokas of his U.S. citizenship, finding that his
Schutzmannschaft service and misrepresentation of that service to
U.S. immigration officials disqualified him for the U.S. visa he
received in 1949.  In 1996, that decision was upheld by the Third
Circuit Court of Appeals.

     The Notice cites the findings of the District Court which
indicated that Stelmokas was the commander of the detachment that
guarded the barbed-wire enclosed ghetto in which the Jews of
Kaunas, Lithuania were forcibly confined.  The District Court
held Stelmokas was responsible for enforcing the internment of
the Jews in the ghetto where they were subject to extreme
deprivation, brutality, and arbitrary shootings.  The District
Court found that Stelmokas was ineligible for a visa to enter the
United States because, among other reasons, his service and
activities in the Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft constituted
assistance in the persecution of civilians on the basis of their
race, religion, or national origin, and assistance to the enemy
Nazi forces in their military operations against the United

     The Notice further alleges that Stelmokas was ineligible to
immigrate to the United States because he concealed his
Schutzmannschaft service when applying for a visa.  Specifically,
Stelmokas claimed to U.S. immigration officials that he had
worked as a teacher from August 1940 until August 1943 and was
unemployed in Kaunas from August 1943 until July 1944.  In fact,
he was at that time employed as an officer in the Lithuanian
     Rosenbaum said the initiation of proceedings to deport
Stelmokas was a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and
prosecute former participants in Nazi-sponsored acts of
persecution who reside in the United States.  To date, 59 Nazi
persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship as a result of
OSI's efforts, and 48 such persons have been removed from the
United States.  Some 300 persons remain under investigation.  An
additional 123 Nazi persecutors who sought to enter the United
States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a
result of OSI's "watch list" program.