FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRM
WEDNESDAY APRIL 19, 2000(202) 514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVES TO REVOKE CITIZENSHIP
OF FORMER NAZI SLAVE LABOR CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, DC. -- The Department of Justice today initiated proceedings to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Sterling Heights, Michigan man based on his participation in persecuting Polish and Jewish civilians during World War II as an SS auxiliary and armed guard at two Nazi slave labor camps.
The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit by the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, alleges that Iwan Mandycz was an armed guard at the SS Labor Camp Trawniki and the SS Labor Camp Poniatowa in Poland, where Jews were forcibly interned, exploited as slave laborers, and then murdered.
OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said that the prisoners at the SS camps at Trawniki and Poniatowa were slave laborers who were forced to live under horribly inhumane conditions.
"Prisoners were given starvation rations, and brutal beatings were a daily occurrence," Rosenbaum said. "The Third Reich permitted these people to live only so long as they could work. Once the Nazis decided that the prisoners were no longer useful, they moved swiftly to liquidate both camps. In November 1943, SS and German police personnel forced the prisoners at the two camps to dig their own graves and then murdered them en masse by gunfire."
The complaint charges that Mandycz trained at the SS Training Camp Trawniki in Nazi-occupied Poland during April and May, 1943. The purpose of the Trawniki camp was to prepare Eastern European recruits to assist German personnel in implementing the Nazi campaign to annihilate Jews in Poland, which the Nazis code-named "Operation Reinhard." During their training, Trawniki recruits guarded Jewish prisoners who were housed at an adjacent slave labor camp.
After completing his training at Trawniki, Mandycz served as an SS auxiliary and armed guard at the SS Labor Camp Poniatowa, located near Lublin, from approximately May to late November, 1943. On November 4, 1943, SS and German police forces shot to death all of the prisoners at Poniatowa - some 14,000 Jewish men, women and children, all murdered in a single day- as part of Nazi Germany's so-called "final solution to the Jewish question." The SS gave this killing action the macabre code-name, "Operation Harvest Festival."
In 1949, Mandycz obtained a U.S. immigration visa in Salzburg, Austria, and entered the United States. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1955. According to the complaint, Mandycz concealed his service as a slave labor camp guard when he applied for his visa by telling U.S. officials that he had spent the war working on his parents' farm in Poland and then as a forced laborer in Austria. The suit seeks a ruling that Mandycz, 80, obtained his U.S. citizenship illegally, and a judgment revoking that citizenship.
The complaint against Mandycz is a product of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who still reside in this country. Since OSI began operations 20 years ago, 63 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their citizenship. Fifty-three such persons have been removed from the United States, including four in the past year. Additionally, more than 150 suspected Nazi persecutors have been stopped at U.S. ports of entry and blocked from entering the country in recent years as a result of OSI's "watchlist" program. Some 250 persons are currently under investigation by the Justice Department unit.