FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CRM   
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1996                       (202) 616-2777
                                             TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The Department of Justice announced today
that it has commenced denaturalization proceedings to revoke the
United States citizenship of a Kansas City, Kansas, man charged
with participating in the persecution of Jews and other civilians
while serving as an SS guard during World War II at the infamous
Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany.

     A complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Kansas
City, Kansas, by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) of
the Justice Department's Criminal Division and the U.S.
Attorney's Office in Kansas City alleges that the defendant,
Michael Kolnhofer, now 79, entered the German Waffen-SS in
September 1942.  After the war, the International Military
Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, ruled that the Waffen-SS was a
criminal organization involved in "the persecution and
extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in
concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied
territories, the administration of the slave labor program and
the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war."  

     To date, 57 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S.
citizenship and 48 have been removed from the United States since
OSI began operations in 1979.  There are more than 300 persons
currently under investigation currently by OSI.

     Captured wartime Nazi records show that in January 1943,
Kolnhofer became a member of the SS Death's Head Guard Battalion
(SS-Totenkopf-Wachbataillon), also known as the SS Death's Head
Battalion (SS-Totenkopf-Sturmbann), at the Sachsenhausen
Concentration Camp near Berlin, Germany, where he served as an
armed guard of prisoners until January 1944.  Members of
virtually every European national group and religious
denomination, as well as Allied prisoners of war and political
opponents of the Nazis, were imprisoned and murdered at
Sachsenhausen during this period because of their religion,
national origin, race, or political opinion. Sachsenhausen was
also the site of a variety of gruesome medical experiments that
took the lives of many prisoners.  Tens of thousands of prisoners
were killed by shooting, hanging, gassing, beatings, and other
means while the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was in

     SS personnel records further show that Kolnhofer was
transferred in January 1944 to the Death's Head Battalion at
Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar, Germany.  The vast
majority of prisoners at Buchenwald were confined for political,
racial, or religious reasons.  Thousands of prisoners died at
Buchenwald during the war from exhaustion, exposure, epidemics
and undernourishment.  Many others were murdered by hanging,
shooting, lethal injection and medical experimentation, and other

     "The defendant concealed his Nazi concentration camp guard
service from U.S. immigration officials when he immigrated to
this country from Germany, in 1952," OSI Director Eli M.
Rosenbaum stated, "and he never would have received a U.S. visa
had he disclosed the truth."  Rosenbaum said that the initiation
of proceedings to denaturalize Kolhnofer is a result of OSI's
ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former
participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country.

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