FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT UPHOLDS DEPORTATION OF FLORIDA MAN FOR ROLE
IN NAZI CRIMES AGAINST JEWS IN WARTIME LITHUANIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, announced that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has affirmed an order directing the deportation of a Gulfport, Florida, man to Lithuania for participating in the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Vilnius, Lithuania during World War II.
The BIA unanimously upheld an August 2002 ruling by the U.S. Immigration Court in Bradenton, Florida, which found that in the fall of 1941, Algimantas Dailide, 82, then a member of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (the Saugumas), took part in the wartime arrest of Jewish men, women and children who were attempting to escape from forced confinement in the Vilnius Jewish ghetto. A federal court in Ohio previously revoked Dailide’s U.S. citizenship in 1997, after confirming his role in the arrests.
Citing authenticated wartime documents located by the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the BIA found that the Saugumas systematically investigated, arrested, and turned over for punishment and execution Jews who attempted to escape from the barbed-wire enclosed Vilnius ghetto, as well as any person who tried to help Jews. Jews arrested by the Saugumas were either shot at execution pits at Paneriai, a wooded area outside Vilnius, where some 50,000 Jews were murdered during the war, or were returned to the Vilnius ghetto for further confinement under inhumane and grotesque conditions. Dailide joined the Saugumas in 1941, and served until 1944, when the Nazis fled Vilnius. He entered the U.S. in 1950, after falsely telling U.S. immigration officials that he had been a “forester” during the war.
The BIA found that Dailide participated in a Saugumas scheme in which a Saugumas collaborator falsely promised Jews that he would smuggle them out of Vilnius in his truck for a fee, at a time when the killing of Jews was at its peak. Pursuant to the plan, the escaping Jews were taken into custody by the Saugumas, and were turned over to Nazi security forces. The BIA stated that Dailide’s “work directly resulted in the persecution of Jews who were detained, interrogated, imprisoned, placed in inhumane ghettos, or otherwise punished, and they were almost certainly killed.”OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum stated, “With the willing assistance of local collaborators like Dailide, the Nazis managed to murder most of the 60,000 strong Jewish population of Vilnius in just a few months in the fall of 1941. Dailide has been rightly called to account for his role in the these heinous crimes.”
OSI previously obtained the denaturalization of three of Dailide’s Saugumas colleagues. In 1996, a federal court in Boston denaturalized Vilnius Saugumas Chief Aleksandras Lileikis, who then fled to Lithuania and died there awaiting trial for war crimes. In 1996, a federal court in Washington, DC, revoked the citizenship of Kazys Gimzauskas, Lileikis' deputy and a former resident of St. Petersburg, Florida. In February 2001, Gimzauskas was convicted by a Lithuanian court of participating in genocide. In 1998, a federal court in Tampa denaturalized Adolph Milius of St. Petersburg, who participated with Dailide in the arrests of Jewish civilians. Milius also fled to Lithuania, where he died in 1999.
The Dailide deportation case is 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, 73 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and 59 have been removed from the country as a result of OSI operations. Also, more than 160 suspected Nazi persecutors have been barred from entering the U.S. under OSI’s “Watch List” border control program.