FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
GOVERNMENT MOVES TO DEPORT CATSKILLS MAN
FOR SERVICE AS NAZI CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON D.C.--The Department of Justice today asked a federal immigration court in New York City to deport an Ellenville, New York, man on the basis that he had participated in the persecution of Jewish civilians during World War II while serving as an armed guard at two SS slave-labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. Today's deportation request follows a July 2001 decision by the District Court in Syracuse to revoke the defendant's citizenship based on his Nazi guard service.
A charging document filed today in United States Immigration Court in Manhattan by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, alleges that Mykola Wasylyk, 78, served in 1943 as an armed perimeter guard at the SS Labor Camp Trawniki, an SS-run training and base camp facility in Nazi-occupied Poland. The camp prepared Eastern European recruits to assist German personnel in implementing "Operation Reinhard," the Nazi campaign to annihilate Jews in Poland.
The charging document states that while Wasylyk received training at Trawniki, he served as an armed guard at an adjacent slave-labor camp for Jews. The charging document further notes that in June 1943, Wasylyk was transferred to serve as an armed guard at the nearby SS Labor Camp Budzy , a slave-labor camp located near the Polish town of Kra nik. Thousands of Jewish men, women and children were incarcerated under inhumane conditions at those two camps and forced to work as slave laborers. Many died in these camps from starvation, disease, shooting and hanging. Prisoners who were no longer able to work were routinely shot or shipped to killing centers.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, of the Justice Department's Criminal Division stated, "Armed, uniformed guards like Wasylyk served to oppress the inmates at these terrible camps and they deterred any attempts to escape, resist or obtain help. He participated significantly in the Nazis' genocidal plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe."
Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which, along with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Manhattan brought the case against Wasylyk, added, "Thousands of innocent civilians suffered and died at the Trawniki and Budzy camps while Mykola Wasylyk and his cohorts stood guard. The United States must continue to deny sanctuary to those who helped the Nazis carry out their program of brutality and murder."
Wasylyk, a native of what is now Ukraine, entered the U.S. in 1949, using a visa he obtained in Germany. At that time, Wasylyk falsely told U.S. immigration officials that he worked during the war for a paper firm in Dresden, Germany. He became a U.S. citizen in 1955.
The Wasylyk case is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. To date, 66 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 54 have been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979. Nearly 200 persons are currently under investigation by OSI.