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WASHINGTON, DC - A federal court of appeals for the Northern District of Ohio has affirmed a 1997 U.S. District Court ruling that stripped Algimantis Dailide, 79, formerly of Brecksville, Ohio, of his naturalized U.S. citizenship on the basis of his participation in arrests and searching of Jews in Nazi-occupied Vilnius, Lithuania during World War II. Dailide currently lives in Gulfport, Florida.

Dailide admitted serving in the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (Saugumas) in Vilnius from the summer of 1941 until 1944. The Vilnius Saugumas was subordinate to the German Security Police and Security Service and had responsibilities that paralleled those of the German Gestapo.

Dailide entered the U.S. in 1949 under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. When he applied for entry, Dailide falsely claimed to be a "forester" from 1942-1944 and specifically denied any police service. The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland filed a complaint in 1994 in U.S. District Court to revoke Dailide's U.S. citizenship for having taken part in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving in the Saugumas. In December 1997, U.S. District Judge Paul R. Matia granted judgment in favor of the government.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a two to one decision, found that the Vilnius Saugumas assisted the occupying Nazi forces in enforcing the persecutory treatment of Jews by, among other things, arresting, detaining, and turning over for execution or other punishment, Jews caught outside of or attempting to escape from the inhumane barbed-wire enclosed ghettos in which they were confined. In addition, the Vilnius Saugumas assisted Nazis in persecuting individuals who attempted to hide or assist a Jew in escaping from the ghettos.

The court cited authenticated documents discovered by OSI in archives in Lithuania in the early 1990's, which showed that Dailide participated in the arrest and search of Jews attempting to flee their forcible confinement in Vilnius. The court noted several of the documents show that the Jews arrested by Dailide (including children) were to be shot and killed at Paneriai, a wooded area near Vilnius.

OSI has previously sought and obtained the denaturalization of three members of the Vilnius Saugumas. They include the Chief of the Vilnius Saugumas, Aleksandras Lileikis, his deputy, Kazys Gimzauskas, and a colleague, Adolph Milius.

The court stated that Dailide's "acts proved him to be an inextricable link in the ultimate result -- the death of innocent Jewish civilians. It is impossible for this Court, or any free citizen of the United States who has never known the fear of being occupied by an enemy, to fully appreciate the terror and sense of desperation that must have been felt by Dailide's victims."

OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum called the ruling "an eloquent memorial to the memory of the innocent victims of Nazi terror. The court's decision should stand as a renewed warning to those who, like Dailide, assisted the Nazis in their murderous plans that the U.S. government will continue to find them and bring them to the bar of justice."

To date, 64 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 53 have been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979. Nearly 250 persons are currently under investigation by OSI, and seventeen persons are the subject of ongoing litigation around the country, according to Rosenbaum.