FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
GOVERNMENT MOVES TO DEPORT PHILADELPHIA MAN FOR SERVICE AS NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Department of Justice has asked a federal immigration court in Philadelphia to deport a Drexel Hill, Pa., man on the basis that he participated in the persecution of civilians during World War II while serving as an armed guard at two concentration camps in Germany and one in Nazi-occupied Poland. Today's deportation request follows a July 2000 decision by the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to revoke the defendant's U.S. citizenship based on his Nazi service in SS Death's Head guard units, which the Court ruled constituted "participation in the Third Reich's closed culture of murder."
A charging document filed yesterday in United States Immigration Court in Philadelphia, by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, states that Theodor Szehinskyj, 76, a retired machinist, should be deported based on his service as an armed SS guard of civilian prisoners at the Gross-Rosen, Sachsenhausen and Warsaw Concentration Camps.
The charging document states that in January 1943, Szehinskyj began serving in the SS Death's Head Guard Battalion at Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp. The charging document further states that in May 1943, Szehinskyj was transferred to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. According to the charging document, from September 1943 to May 1944 Szehinskyj also served as a guard in the SS Death's Head guard unit at Warsaw Concentration Camp, constructed at the site of the leveled Warsaw Ghetto in Poland. The charging document adds that from May 1944 to February 1945, Szehinskyj again served as a member of the SS Death's Head Guard Battalion at Sachsenhausen. The Government further alleges that the thousands of prisoners at each of these concentration camps were subjected to persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, or political opinion, and that Szehinskyj was assigned to prevent prisoners from escaping.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division stated, "By preventing prisoners of these Nazi concentration camps from escaping, Szehinskyj and his fellow SS guards participated in the Nazis' genocidal plan to annihilate the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe."
"This case reflects the continued commitment of the United States to remove from our shores those who helped the Nazis carry out their reign of terror," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI). "Szehinskyj and the other SS Death's Head guards were integral parts of the Nazi system of degradation, brutality and murder."
Szehinskyj is a native of Galicia which was part of pre-war Poland, but is now in Ukraine. He entered the U.S. in 1950, using a visa obtained in Schweinfurt, Germany, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1958.
The Szehinskyj case is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify those who assisted in Nazi persecution residing in this country. To date, 71 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 57 have been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979.