FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1999(202) 514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVES TO REVOKE CITIZENSHIP OF FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, DC. -- The Department of Justice has initiated proceedings to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Brooklyn, Ohio, man on the basis of his service during World War II as an armed guard at a Nazi slave labor camp and at a subcamp of the infamous Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Cleveland by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, alleges that Wasyl Krysa, 74, served as an armed guard of civilian prisoners at SS Labor Camp Poniatowa in Nazi-occupied Poland from approximately July to November, 1943. The complaint asserts that Krysa's unit guarded Jewish slave laborers at Poniatowa and prevented them from escaping. The complaint further states that on November 4, 1943, all of the prisoners -- some 14,000 Jewish men, women, and children -- were killed at Poniatowa by German SS and police forces as part of the Nazis' so-called "final solution to the Jewish question," the genocidal killing of Jews in Europe.
The complaint alleges that Krysa was later transferred to serve as an SS concentration camp guard, and that by April 1944 he was guarding prisoners at the Gusen subcamp of Mauthausen Concentration Camp, as part of Mauthausen's SS Death's Head Battalion (SS-Totenkopfsturmbann). Mauthausen Concentration Camp, located near Linz in German-annexed Austria, was one of the most brutal of the Nazi concentration camps. OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said that nearly half of the 68,000 persons imprisoned at Gusen perished there. U.S. Attorney Emily M. Sweeney noted that Gusen was notorious for the cruel and sadistic way in which inmates died. "Prisoners were deliberately worked to death in stone quarries, or murdered by beatings, phenol injection, and firing squad," said Sweeney.
Krysa obtained a U.S. immigration visa in 1951 and entered the United States in December of that year. According to the complaint, Krysa lied when he applied for his visa by telling U.S. officials that he had worked as a farmer until July 1944, thereby concealing the fact that he served as an armed guard at Poniatowa and Gusen. The Government's suit seeks a ruling that Krsya obtained his U.S. citizenship illegally and a judgment revoking that citizenship.
Rosenbaum emphasized that the guards at Poniatowa and Gusen played an integral role in the Nazi plan to persecute and murder Jews and others deemed undesirable. "The public's attention has lately been focused on gold, art, and other property looted from Holocaust victims, and on reparations for surviving slave laborers," said Rosenbaum. "These are certainly important matters, but it must be stressed that many of the SS guards who supervised the slave laborers and prevented them from escaping are still alive and have succeeded in eluding detection and prosecution," said Rosenbaum.
The complaint against Krysa is 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 20 years ago, 63 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their citizenship. Fifty-two such persons have been removed from the United States, including three in the past six months. An additional 150 Nazi persecutors have been blocked from entering the country in recent years as a result of OSI's "Watchlist" program. Some 250 persons are currently under investigation by the Justice Department unit.