FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INITIATED REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST
FORMER GUARD AT NAZI SLAVE LABOR CAMP
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice has initiated deportation proceedings against an Illinois man who was found to have participated in a massacre of Jews while serving as a guard at a Nazi slave labor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. The charging document, filed August 7 in U.S. Immigration Court in Chicago by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the Chicago Office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, alleged that Bronislaw Hajda, 74, a retired factory worker living in Schiller Park, Illinois, served in occupied Poland as an armed guard at the SS Training Camp Trawniki, the Treblinka Labor Camp and the SS Streibel Battalion from 1943 to 1945. "Bronislaw Hajda committed ghastly crimes against innocent civilians, and his continued presence in the United States is an affront to the memory of these victims of Nazi persecution," said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum. "The initiation of removal proceedings against Mr. Hajda is an important step towards bringing this case to a just conclusion." In 1997, the U.S. District Court in Chicago stripped Hajda of his U.S. citizenship finding that his wartime service and misrepresentation of that service to U.S. immigration officials disqualified him for the U.S. visa he received in 1950. In March 1998, that decision was upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The court papers cite the findings of the District Court who specifically found that Hajda "unquestionably" participated in the massacre carried out by the guards when the Nazis liquidated the Treblinka Labor Camp on July 23, 1944, as Allied forces approached. On that day, hundreds of Jewish prisoners were shot by the camp guards at point-blank range in a pit. After the liquidation of Treblinka, Hajda joined the SS Streibel Battalion, which forcibly conscripted Polish civilians as slave laborers to build military fortifications. The court found that Hajda was ineligible for a visa to enter the United States because, among other reasons, his wartime service and activities constituted assistance in the persecution of civilians and membership or participation in a movement hostile to the United States during the war. The papers further allege that Hajda was ineligible to immigrate to the United States because he intentionally misrepresented and concealed his wartime activities when applying for a visa to enter the United States. Rosenbaum said that the proceedings to remove Hajda were a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. "The court's decision," he stated after the entry of the denaturalization order in 1997, "confirms that individuals, like Hajda, who helped the Nazis realize their genocidal ambitions had no right to enter this country, much less to receive the privilege of United States citizenship." To date, 60 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship since the OSI began operations in 1979, and 48 such individuals have been removed from the United States. There are some 300 persons currently under investigation by OSI.