FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRM
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 1999(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVES TO REVOKE U.S. CITIZENSHIP
OF FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
Washington, D.C., - The U.S. Department of Justice today filed a complaint to revoke the U.S. citizenship of Theodor Szehinskyj, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who served, the complaint alleges, as a Waffen-SS Death's Head Concentration Camp Guard at Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp, Warsaw Concentration Camp, and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp during World War II.
The complaint, filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, alleges that Szehinskyj, a retired machine mechanic who was born in Poland in 1924, joined the Waffen-SS in 1943 and served in the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (SS Death's Head Battalion) as an armed guard of civilians at three Nazi concentration camps during the period 1943 to 1945.
As a member of the SS Death's Head Battalion at Gross Rosen, Warsaw, and Sachsenhausen, the complaint charges, Szehinskyj assisted in the persecution of civilians on the basis of their race, nationality, or religion. During the period of Szehinskyj's service at the Gross Rosen, Warsaw, and Sachsenhausen camps, prisoners were subjected to confinement, beatings, torture, slave labor, and murder.
Sachsenhausen was established in Oranienburg, near Berlin, in 1936. By 1943, it had become the second largest concentration camp after Auschwitz.
Warsaw Concentration Camp was a smaller camp, opened after the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943. The prisoners were brought to Warsaw from various concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and forced to work as slave laborers, demolishing the ghetto.
Approximately 120,000 prisoners passed through Gross-Rosen and its subcamps. It is estimated that about 40,000 prisoners died there.
OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said that the concentration camp system was used by the Nazis to isolate and eliminate Jews, Gypsies, Poles, and other Nazi-designated enemies, first in Germany and later in occupied areas. "At the Sachsenhausen, Gross Rosen, and Warsaw Concentration Camps, terror was the daily bread for tens of thousands of innocent civilians," said Rosenbaum. United States Attorney Michael Stiles said, "The Nazis made diabolically effective use of these camps to silence and eliminate all actual or imagined opposition to Nazi rule."
The initiation of proceedings to denaturalize Szehinskyj is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States.
Since OSI began operations in 1979, 63 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship, and 52 such individuals have been removed from the United States. Additionally, more than 150 Nazi persecutors who sought to enter the United States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of OSI's "Watchlist" program. More than 250 persons are currently under investigation by the Department of Justice unit, according to Rosenbaum.