FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL IMMIGRATION JUDGE ORDERS DEPORTATION
OF CATSKILLS MAN WHO SERVED AS NAZI CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Department of Justice announced today that a federal immigration court in Manhattan has ordered the deportation of an Ellenville, N.Y., man to Ukraine because he had participated in the persecution of Jewish civilians during World War II. He had served as an armed guard at two SS slave-labor camps in Nazi occupied Poland. The court's order follows a July 2001 decision by a federal court in Syracuse to revoke the defendant's U.S. citizenship based on his Nazi guard service.
U.S. Immigration Judge Mirlande Tadal ordered that Mykola Wasylyk, 79, be deported from the United States because he had served as an armed guard at the Trawniki and Budzyn forced labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland from April 1943 to November 1943.
In a written decision, Judge Tadal explained that the purpose of the Trawniki and Budzyn camps "was to warehouse, incarcerate, exploit and kill Jewish persons" because of their Jewish heritage. The judge added that prisoners in the two camps "were subjected to inhumane treatment, including physical abuse and death." While serving as an armed guard, the court concluded, Wasylyk's assignment was to patrol the perimeters of both camps to ensure that no one escaped.
"The court's ruling reaffirms that the guards at Nazi slave labor camps were not simply unthinking cogs in a killing machine – they were active, vital participants in the Nazi scheme to exterminate millions of innocent people," said Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division.
"Armed guards like Wasylyk ensured that Jews and other prisoners could not escape the starvation, disease, overwork, and murder to which they were subjected on a daily basis in the Nazi camps," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which brought the case on behalf of the Justice Department.
OSI initiated the deportation action against Wasylyk in December 2001 after a federal court had revoked Wasylyk's naturalized U.S. citizenship because of his wartime service as a Nazi camp guard. Wasylyk, a native of what is now Ukraine, entered the United States in 1949 using a visa he obtained in Germany. In her decision, the immigration judge noted that Wasylyk regards himself as a Ukrainian national; she ordered that he be deported to Ukraine.
The proceedings to deport Wasylyk are a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. Since 1979, 71 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and 57 have been removed from the country as a result of OSI operations. Also, 165 suspected Nazi persecutors have been prevented from entering the U.S. under OSI's "Watch List" border control program.