FORMER MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN MOBILE KILLING UNIT RELINQUISHES UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND DEPARTS USA WASHINGTTON, D.C.-- The Department of Justice announced today that a Gulfport, Florida man who admitted serving in an infamous Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian battalion that perpetrated numerous mass killings of Jews and others during World War II, has agreed to relinquish his United States citizenship and has left the country. Juozas (a/k/a Joseph) Budreika, 79, admitted in an agreement settling a denaturalization action brought against him in September 1994 by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) that he illegally procured his United States citizenship and that he was not a person of good moral character because of his service in the 2nd/12th Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft (Protective Detachment) Battalion, and because he willfully misrepresented and concealed this service in applying for United States citizenship. The 2nd/12th Battalion was armed, sponsored and controlled by Nazi Germany. During 1941 and 1942, the 2nd/12th Battalion murdered thousands of unarmed Jews and other civilians in Lithuania and Byelorussia (now Belarus) because of their race, religion, political beliefs, or national origin. In Byelorussia, the Battalion functioned largely as a mobile killing unit, waging a town-by-town hunt for Jews and suspected communists. Under the terms of the agreement, Budreika, a retired cook, agreed to depart the United States permanently and assented to the entry of an order revoking his United States citizenship. Budreika left the United States by commercial airliner and arrived yesterday in Vilnius, Lithuania. A proposed Consent Judgment and Order is being jointly submitted today by government and defense counsel for approval by United States District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said Budreika's relinquishment of citizenship and permanent departure from the United States is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. "Juozas Budreika's removal from this country is a vindication of the principle that the United States, which is the adopted homeland of so many victims of Nazi persecution, will not offer sanctuary to their former tormentors." Some 53 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 46 have now been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979. There are more than 300 persons currently under investigation by OSI, according to Rosenbaum.