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WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Department of Justice today initiated proceedings to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Lyndhurst, Ohio, man for participating in the Nazi-sponsored persecution of Jews and other civilians during World War II.

The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, alleges that Jakob Miling, 78, a native of the former Yugoslavia, served from November 1942 until September 1944 as an armed guard in the SS Death's Head Battalions at the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany. At each of those camps, prisoners were compelled to work as slave laborers and thousands of prisoners were murdered or died from malnutrition, disease and exhaustion.

"Those who swore loyalty to Adolf Hitler and assisted in the Nazi campaign of terror against civilians do not deserve the privilege of U.S. citizenship," said Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division.

According to the complaint, Miling began serving in the Waffen SS in November 1942, took an oath of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler, and was promoted to the rank of SS-Rottenführer (corporal) before the war ended. The complaint states that Miling and other guards at Sachsenhausen manned machine guns in the camp's guard towers and had standing orders to shoot without warning any prisoner who entered the six-foot wide "path of death" adjacent to the camp's barbed wire fence. The prisoners at Sachsenhausen included Jews, Roma, and political prisoners, as well as American and Allied prisoners of war.

The other camp at which Milling allegedly served, Gross-Rosen, is described in the complaint as one of the most brutal camps in the Nazi concentration camp system.

"Gross Rosen was intended to be one of the most punitive camps, reserved for prisoners deemed by the Nazis to be incapable of ‘rehabilitation,'" said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which brought the case with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland. "During 1942 – the year Miling arrived – the mortality rate there was appallingly high, and the camp's population was maintained only by a steady stream of new arrivals."

After Miling's guard service ended, the complaint states, he served in the "Reichsführer SS," an SS armored infantry division that fought Allied forces during the final months of the war.

Miling came to the United States as a visitor in 1964. He was granted permanent resident status in 1966, and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in Cleveland in 1972. The government alleges that Miling lied on his application for citizenship and concealed his wartime service in Nazi organizations.

The proceedings to denaturalize Miling are a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. Since 1979, 71 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and 57 have been removed from the country as a result of OSI operations. Also, 165 suspected Nazi persecutors have been barred from entering the U.S. under OSI's "Watch List" border control program.