FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL IMMIGRATION JUDGE ORDERS DEPORTATION
OF PENNSYLVANIA MAN WHO SERVED AS NAZI CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Justice announced today that a federal immigration court in Philadelphia has ordered the deportation of a West Chester, Pa., man to Ukraine (or, alternatively, Poland or Germany) because he participated in the persecution of civilians during World War II while serving as an armed guard at two Nazi concentration camps in Germany and one in Nazi-occupied Poland. The court's order follows a July 2000 decision by the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to revoke the defendant's U.S. citizenship based on his Nazi service in SS Death's Head guard units, which the district court ruled constituted "participation in the Third Reich's closed culture of murder."
U.S. Immigration Judge Charles M. Honeyman ordered Theodor Szehinskyj, 79, deported from the United States because he had served as an armed SS guard of civilian prisoners at the Gross-Rosen, Sachsenhausen and Warsaw concentration camps from January 1943 until February 1945.
In a written decision, Judge Honeyman, quoting the district court, stated: "[T]he horror of the [concentration] camps cannot be overstated: they were places of utter, devastating persecution," and "Most people placed in the camps were there because of their ethnicity or religion, persons considered to be untermenschen, or ‘sub-humans.'"
The immigration court concluded that since the primary duty of the guards was to prevent prisoner escapes, Szehinskyj assisted in persecution through his service as a concentration camp guard.
"Armed SS Death's Head Battalion Guards like Szehinskyj helped seal the dismal fate of victims of the Nazi camps by assuring that Jews and other prisoners did not escape the devastating conditions of the camps – starvation, disease, slave labor, torture, beatings, and murder," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which brought the case on behalf of the Justice Department.
OSI initiated the deportation action against Szehinskyj in September 2002. He entered the U.S. in 1950, using a visa obtained in Germany, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1958. Szehinskyj is a native of Malnow, a town in pre-war Poland, that is currently within the borders of Ukraine.
The Szehinskyj case is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify those who assisted in Nazi persecution residing in this country. Since 1979, 71 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 57 have been removed from the country as a result of OSI operations. In addition, more than 160 suspected Nazi persecutors have been prevented from entering the U.S. under OSI's "Watch List" border control program.