FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 5, 1999
TDD (202) 514-1888
IMMIGRATION JUDGE ORDERS REMOVAL OF CHICAGO-AREA MAN
ACCUSED OF PARTICIPATION IN NAZI MASSACRE OF JEWS
WASHINGTON, DC. -- A former Chicago factory worker who served as an armed guard during a two-day massacre of more than 3,700 Jewish men, women, and children in Nazi-occupied Lithuania during World War II has been ordered removed from the United States, and must permanently depart the country for Lithuania by June 30, the Department of Justice announced today.
In September 1998, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) of the Justice Department's Criminal Division filed a deportation case in U.S. Immigration Court in Chicago charging that Vincas Valkavickas, 78, assisted in the persecution of Jews as a member of the Nazi-controlled Lithuanian Auxiliary Police. In an agreement signed last month, Valkavickas admitted that he served in the auxiliary police and that he lied about his wartime activities when he came to this country in 1950.
Last Friday, Immigration Judge James R. Fujimoto ordered that Valkavickas be removed from the United States to Lithuania. Under the terms of the order, Valkavickas may leave at his own expense by June 30. If he fails to depart by that date, he will be removed at government expense.
The auxiliary police battalions were created by the Nazis in 1941 to assist with the German occupation of Lithuania. From June 1941 until December 1941, some 160,000 Lithuanian Jews -- approximately 80 % of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish population of more than 200,000 -- were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. By the end of the war, scholars estimate, the death toll reached 94 %. The auxiliary police played an essential role in that slaughter.
In the settlement agreement, Valkavickas admitted that he served in the Nazi-controlled auxiliary police in Sviencionys, Lithuania from 1941 until 1944. Beginning on September 27, 1941, thousands of Jewish prisoners were detained at a former military installation near Sviencionys, Lithuania, known as the "Polygon," where they were guarded by members of the auxiliary police. Over a two-day period from October 7-8, 1941, at least 3,700 Jewish men, women, and children were executed by gunfire at the Polygon. According to wartime documents and other evidence located by OSI, Valkavickas guarded Jewish prisoners at the Polygon on behalf of the Nazis and remained on duty throughout the two-day massacre.
"The massacre of 3,700 Jewish men, women, and children over a two-day period in October 1941 was a stunning act of cold-blooded brutality," said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum. "As an armed guard at the Polygon and a member of the Nazi-controlled auxiliary police, Vincas Valkavickas played an essential role in that massacre. His removal from this country is a vindication of the principle that it is never too late to seek justice against the men and women who collaborated in Nazi atrocities."
The settlement agreement provides that the Government retains the right to reassert, in any future legal proceeding, the charge that Valkavickas assisted in the persecution of Jews. "If this case had gone to trial," said Rosenbaum, "OSI would have established beyond any doubt that Mr. Valkavickas served the Nazis as an armed guard during the Polygon massacre. By resolving the case with an uncontested order of removal, the Government was able to achieve the complete remedy available under law -- the deportation of a Nazi collaborator -- at a minimal expense to U.S. taxpayers."
Rosenbaum said that the removal order and the ultimate departure of Valkavickas were the result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who still reside in this country.
Since OSI began operations in 1979, 61 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their citizenship, and 48 such persons have been removed from the United States. An additional 150 Nazi persecutors have been blocked from entering the country in recent years as a result of OSI's "watchlist" program. Some 300 persons are currently under investigation by the Justice Department unit.