FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT UPHOLDS DEPORTATION OF CATSKILLS MAN
WHO SERVED AS NAZI CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, announced today that an immigration appeals court has paved the way for the deportation of an Ellenville, N.Y. man who served as a guard at two SS-slave labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.
In October 2002, an immigration judge ordered that Mykola Wasylyk, 79, be deported from the United States because he had served from April 1943 to November 1943 as an armed guard of Jews and other civilian prisoners at the Trawniki and Budzyn forced labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. On Tuesday, March 23, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed that Wasylyk is subject to deportation because of his wartime service.
“The BIA’s decision reaffirms the Department’s commitment to ensure that justice is served regardless of how long it takes,” said Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray. “This former Nazi concentration camp guard will no longer be able to enjoy the privileges of his American citizenship.”
The 2002 decision by the immigration judge ordered Wasylyk’s deportation to Ukraine because he is an ethnic Ukrainian who was born in a Polish village that is now part of Ukraine. At Wasylyk’s request, the BIA amended the deportation order to require that the government first attempt to deport him to Switzerland. Wasylyk has previously acknowledged that he has no ties to Switzerland, and the BIA’s ruling is not expected to delay his removal. Under the BIA’s decision, if Switzerland does not notify the Justice Department within 30 days that it will accept Wasylyk, he can then be deported to Ukraine.
“As Wasylyk knew full well at the time, his actions as an armed, uniformed guard at Nazi slave labor camps served to oppress the prisoners and deterred attempts to resist, escape, or seek help,” said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations, which brought the case on behalf of the Justice Department. “His claims of innocence have rightly been rejected by the courts.”
Wasylyk immigrated to the United States in 1949 and became a U.S. citizen in 1955. His U.S. citizenship was revoked by a federal district court in December 2001 because of his wartime service as a Nazi camp guard. In that decision, U.S. District Judge Norman A. Mordue rejected Wasylyk’s claim that he was unaware of any persecution against the prisoners he guarded and concluded that Wasylyk had “assisted the enemy in persecuting civilian populations.”
The deportation case was litigated by OSI Senior Trial Attorneys Jeffrey Menkin and Stephen Paskey.
The deportation order against Wasylyk is a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify, investigate and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. Since OSI began operations in 1979, it has won cases against 93 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, 170 individuals who sought to enter the United States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of OSI's “Watch List” program, which is enforced in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.