FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CRM
THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 1997                           (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced
today that a federal judge in Chicago has revoked the naturalized
U.S. citizenship of an Illinois man who took part in a massacre
of Jews while serving as a guard at a Nazi slave labor camp in
Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II and who subsequently
concealed his activities from U.S. officials when he applied to
immigrate to the United States on May 24, 1950.

     In a 58-page decision filed today, U.S. District Court Judge
David H. Coar found that Bronislaw Hajda, 73, a retired factory
worker living in Schiller Park, Illinois, served in occupied
Poland as an armed guard at the SS Training Camp Trawniki, the
Treblinka Labor Camp and the SS Streibel Battalion, making him
ineligible to enter the United States and hence ineligible for

     "The court's decision," said Eli Rosenbaum, Director of the
Office of Special Investigations, "confirms that individuals,
like Hajda, who helped the Nazis realize their genocidal
ambitions had no right to enter this country, much less to
receive the privilege of United States citizenship."

     The judge specifically found that Hajda "unquestionably"
participated in the massacre carried out by the guards when the
Nazis liquidated the Treblinka Labor Camp on July 23, 1944, as
Allied forces approached.  On that day, hundreds of Jewish
prisoners were shot at point-blank range in a pit by the camp
guards.  After the liquidation of Treblinka, Hajda joined the SS
Streibel Battalion, which forcibly conscripted Polish civilians
as slave laborers to build military fortifications.

     The court found:

     The documentary evidence presented by the government is
     overwhelming.  A person with (or using) the same name, birth
     date, birth place, occupation, nationality, citizenship, and
     general physical description as defendant, and having
     parents of the same name as defendant's did, in certain
     fact, serve as an auxiliary guard in units at Trawniki,
     Treblinka, and in the SS Battalion Streibel.  That same
     person unquestionably participated in the massacre of Jewish
     prisoners at Treblinka.  

     The court ruled that the evidence and admitted facts were 
"sufficient to establish clearly and unequivocally that Wachmann 
[guard] Hajda and defendant are one and the same."  It rejected
Hajda's claim of mistaken identity, pointing out that "there are
no significant discrepancies between the physical descriptions of
Wachmann Hajda and defendant."  The court also rejected Hajda's
alibi that he had been a prisoner at the Pustkow labor camp and
it discredited the testimony of his only corroborating witness,
who claimed to have seen defendant at Pustkow.  The court noted
that the witness "currently lives next door to Hajda's brother .
. . and that [his] decision to come forward and testify was
sealed over a bottle of vodka."

     "Hajda's false assertion that he was a victim of, rather
than a participant in persecution, is an affront to the thousands
of Mr. Hajda's fellow countrymen who perished at the Pustkow
labor camp, as well as to the millions of other victims of the
Holocaust," Rosenbaum said.
     The court cited the postwar testimony of Hajda's sister,
Kazimiera, that "[m]y brother served in the German military, in
the SS" and of his father that "[m]y son Bronislaw Hajda went to
Germany to join the SS."  The court rejected defendant's claim
that the statements of his sister and father may have been

     The judge concluded that:
     . . . Wachmann Hajda and defendant are one and the same and
     that defendant intentionally misrepresented his activities
     from January 1943 through April 1945 in order to obtain
     entry into the United States. . . Defendant's service as an
     auxiliary in the guard units at Training Camp Trawniki, his
     assistance in the murder of 300 to 700 Jewish prisoners at
     Treblinka, his service as an armed guard at Treblinka, and
     his service in the SS Battalion Streibel,  all constituted
     assistance in the persecution of civil populations. . .

     The court found that Hajda's wartime service to the Nazis
constituted assistance in the persecution of civilian populations
and membership or participation in a movement hostile to the
United States and to the form of government of the United States. 
It also said that Hajda misrepresented material facts for the
purpose of gaining admission to the United States when he told
U.S. immigration authorities that he had spent most of the war in
his hometown working as an shoemaker.

     The court observed that "seeking to discover the acts of a
single individual across the temporal expanse of fifty years and
a distance of an ocean and half a continent is a daunting task. 
Yet, through the efforts of the Justice Department and the
international community, the activities of Wachmann Hajda have
come to light."

     Rosenbaum said the proceedings to denaturalize Hajda were a
result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action
against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this

     Hajda is the 59th Nazi persecutor stripped of U.S.
citizenship since OSI began operating in 1979.  Some 48 such
individuals have been removed from the United States to date. 
There are more than 300 persons currently under investigation by
OSI, according to Rosenbaum.

     The case was prosecuted by the Criminal Division's Office of
Special Investigations (OSI), assisted by the U.S. Attorney's
office in Chicago.  The trial was held last month in Chicago.