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Washington, DC ­ A federal judge in Tampa Florida has revoked the U.S. citizenship of Adolph Milius (aka Adolphas Millinavicius), formerly of St. Petersburg, Florida because he assisted in the persecution of Jews in Vilnius, Lithuania during World War II.

Milius, 80 a retired physician, currently resides in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he moved after the Department of Justice filed its complaint against him in December 1996. The denaturalization order was entered yesterday by Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. He ruled that Milius' service in the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police, the Saugumas, from June through November 1941, and his personal involvement in anti-Jewish measures, made him ineligible for citizenship.

"The decision is an important vindication of the proposition that it is still possible to secure a significant measure of justice on behalf of the victims of Nazi inhumanity, despite the passage of so many years," said Eli Rosenbaum, Director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation (OSI), who brought the case along with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tamp. "This decision should serve notice on others in this country who, like Milius, took part in these abominable crimes, that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously identify, investigate, and take legal action against them."

The Vilnius Saugumas, which was subordinate to the German Security Police and Security Service had responsibilities which paralleled those of the German Gestapo. It assisted the occupying Nazi forces in enforcing the persecutory treatment of Jews by, among other things,

arresting, detaining, and turning over for execution or other punishment, Jews caught outside of or attempting to escape from the inhumane barbed-wire enclosed ghettos in which they were confined, as well as any person who attempted to hide or assist a Jew in escaping from the ghettos. Many of the Jews turned over to the Nazis for punishment were shot and killed at Paneriai, a wooded area near Vilnius. In all, nearly 55,000 of Vilnius' 60,000 Jews perished at Paneriai during the Nazi occupation of Vilnius.

The court's decision cited captured Saugumas documents found by OSI in the Lithuanian Central State Archives showing that Milius participated in a "sting" operation. The operation entrapped Jews who sought to flee their forcible confinement in the Vilnius ghetto at a time when the Nazis were drastically reducing the ghetto population through mass executions at Paneriai. In October 1941, Milius participated in the arrest of twelve Jews ­ including two children ­ who were lured into attempting to escape from the ghetto in a truck driven by a Saugumas informant. Milius also signed an inventory listing items seized from another group of Jews arrested for attempting to escape from the ghetto. Those items included wedding rings, women's undergarments, and gold tooth crowns.

Milius entered the United States in 1949 under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. Judge Adams found that Milius was ineligible for immigration to the United States under the statute, in light of the "overwhelming evidence that the Saugumas aided in the persecution of Jews..., Milius' admitted membership in the Saugumas, as well as documents noting...Milius' involvement in particular instances of persecution." Judge Adams separately found that Milius' service in the Saugumas constituted membership and participation in a "movement hostile to the United States or its form of government," independently rendering him ineligible for immigration under the Displaced Persons Act.

In December 1996, OSI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa filed a three-count complaint alleging that Milius' participation in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving in the Vilnius Saugumas made him ineligible for the visa he received to enter United States. The complaint charged that his subsequent naturalization was illegally and fraudulently procured. In December 1997, the Government sought summary judgement on two counts based upon facts not disputed by the parties. Judge Adams granted judgement in favor of the Government on both counts.

This is the fourth case in which OSI has sought and obtained the denaturalization of members of the Vilnius Saugumas. In May 1996, a federal court in Boston ordered the denaturalization of Vilnius Province Saugumas Chief Aleksandras Lileikis, finding that "Tens of thousands died under his command of the Saugumas." Lileikis subsequently fled the United States and returned to Lithuania in June 1996. Lileikis' criminal trial on genocide charges is scheduled to begin on September 1 in Vilnius. In 1994, Kazys Gimzauskas, Lileikis' deputy and a former resident of St. Petersburg, Florida, abandoned his U.S. residence and returned to Lithuania while under investigation by OSI. Gimzauskas' U.S. citizenship was revoked by court order in June 1996. Lileikis and Gimzauskas were Milius' superiors in the Saugumas. In addition, in December 1996, a federal court in Cleveland ordered the denaturalization of Milius' colleague in the Vilnius Saugumas, Algimantis Dailide. Dailide participated with Milius in some of the same arrests of Jews who attempted to escape from the Vilnius ghetto.

To date, 60 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 49 have been removed from the U.S. since OSI began operations in 1979. There are nearly 300 persons currently under investigation by OSI, according to OSI Director Rosenbaum.