Department of Justice Seal


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 1998 (202) 514-2008

TDD (202) 514-1888



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today asked a federal court in Manhattan to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Rockland County man who allegedly served during World War II as a member of an SS-run unit that participated in acts of persecution during the war. The defendant, Dmytro Sawchuk, 73, of Glen Spey, New York, is alleged to have guarded Nazi slave-labor camps and participated in a ghetto liquidation in Nazi-occupied Poland.

In a complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the Government alleges that Sawchuk arrived in 1943 at the Trawniki Training Camp. The camp was an SS-run training and base camp facility in Nazi-occupied Poland that prepared Eastern European recruits to assist German personnel in implementing the Third Reich's racially motivated population policies.

The complaint alleges that Sawchuk served as an armed guard at both the SS Labor Camp Trawniki, which was a slave-labor camp for Jews adjacent to the training facility, and the SS Labor Camp Poniatowa, which was a slave-labor camp near a Polish village of the same name. Thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were incarcerated under inhumane conditions at the two camps as forced laborers.

The complaint further alleges that in April 1943, Sawchuk was sent with a battalion of Trawniki guards to the Belzec death camp in Belzec, Poland. Between March and December 1942, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children were murdered at the Belzec death camp. The bodies of the victims were buried in large pits. The complaint alleges that Sawchuk served at Belzec as an armed guard of Jewish prisoners who were forced to exhume the corpses from the pits where they had originally been buried, and then burn the corpses.

The complaint also states that in August 1943, Sawchuk assisted in the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Bialystok, Poland. The ghetto was liquidated during August and September 1943, and tens of thousands of its residents were forcibly sent to the Treblinka death camp, the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps, and elsewhere.

According to the complaint, by late 1944, Sawchuk was serving in the SS Battalion Streibel, a unit whose primary function was to round up and guard thousands of Polish civilian forced laborers at fortification and construction sites in south-central Poland.

When Sawchuk applied for a visa to enter the United States in 1951, the Government's complaint charges that he knowingly misrepresented his wartime activities, telling U.S. authorities that he had spent the war years as a farm worker in Poland and a sawmill worker in Germany. The Government's suit seeks a declaration that Sawchuk illegally procured his naturalization, and a judgement revoking his United States citizenship.

"This case demonstrates the Government's continuing efforts to make certain that those who have assisted in persecution do not continue to enjoy the benefits of their illegally procured citizenship," said Mary Jo White, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"The initiation of proceedings to denaturalize Sawchuk is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify, investigate and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations.

Fifty-nine individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 47 such persons have been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979. An additional 142 individuals who sought to enter the United States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of OSI's "watchlist" program. Some 300 individuals are currently under investigation by OSI.