FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INITIATES REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST
CHICAGO-AREA MAN WHO GUARDED JEWS DURING NAZI MASSACRE
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice today initiated removal proceedings against a Chicago man who allegedly took part in the forcible detention of at least 3,700 Jewish men, women and children who were shot to death during a two-day massacre in Nazi-occupied Sviencionys, Lithuania, in October 1941. The complaint, filed yesterday 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 (INS), alleges that Vincas Valkavickas, 78, a retired factory worker, should be removed from the United States because of his wartime activities. Specifically, the papers allege that Valkavickas is subject to removal because, while serving in the Lithuanian police, he assisted the occupying Nazi forces by guarding Jewish men, women and children at a former military installation near Nazi-occupied Sviencionys, beginning on September 27, 1941, and continuing throughout their slaughter by gunfire in subsequent days. At least 3,700 Jews were murdered during the operation at the so-called "Polygon." Valkavickas served in the Lithuanian Police from 1941 until 1944. "Vincas Valkavickas played an essential role in a Nazi-ordered massacre of thousands of innocent civilians," said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum. "His presence here is a continuing affront to Holocaust survivors who made new homes in this country and to those Americans who risked and lost their lives to end Hitler's reign of terror." The papers further allege that Valkavickas intentionally misrepresented and concealed his wartime service on behalf of the Nazis when applying for a visa to enter the United States in 1950 and when applying for U.S. citizenship in 1994. In connection with his naturalization application, the court documents charge that Valkavickas lied abouted his account of his wartime activities each time he was interviewed, initially denying but later admitting his service in the Lithuanian police in Svencionys. Rosenbaum said that the proceedings to remove Valkavickas were a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. To date, 60 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship since OSI began operations in 1979, and 48 such individuals have been removed from the United States. Nearly 300 persons are currently under investigation by OSI, according to Rosenbaum.