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WASHINGTON, D.C. The naturalized U.S. citizenship of Wasyl Krysa was revoked today by a federal judge in Cleveland, Ohio on the basis of his participation in the persecution of Jews and other civilian prisoners during World War II, the Justice Department announced.

The denaturalization decision issued by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan cited admissions and other evidence proving that Wasyl Krysa, 75, a resident of Brooklyn, Ohio, served during 1944 and 1945 as an armed SS guard at the Gusen camp, a subcamp of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in German-annexed Austria. By serving as an armed guard, the court concluded, Krysa ensured that prisoners could not escape the "severe" persecution to which they were subjected in the camp "because of their race, religion or national origin."

Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said, "This important decision stands as a testament to the victims, their families and those who survived the vicious crimes of the Nazis. The U.S. Government has not forgotten their terrible suffering, and we will not relent in our pursuit of justice on their behalf."

Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which, along with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, brought the case against Krysa, emphasized the cruel and sadistic treatment of prisoners at Gusen, noting that more than 10,000 prisoners died during the period of Krysa's assignment there. "Prisoners were deliberately worked to death there, or murdered by beatings, shootings and phenol injections," Rosenbaum said. "By preventing prisoners from escaping, Wasyl Krysa and the other SS guards played a vital role in the realization of the Third Reich's genocidal ambitions."

Krysa, born in Poland, entered the United States in 1951 from Germany under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. Judge Gaughan noted that Krysa made false statements to obtain his U.S. visa by not disclosing his SS camp guard service and falsely informing U.S. immigration officials that he worked as a farmer until July 1944. Krysa was granted U.S. citizenship in 1958.

Judge Gaughan stated in her ruling that his service as an armed guard at Gusen rendered him ineligible for a visa, and that his naturalization had therefore been "illegally procured."

The Krysa prosecution was a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify, investigate, and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. He is the 66th Nazi persecutor to have been stripped of U.S. citizenship since OSI began operations in 1979. OSI has succeeded in removing 54 such persons from the United States to date. Nearly 200 individuals are currently under investigation by OSI.