FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS DEPORTATION OF NAZI CRIMINAL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division announced today that a federal appeals court has affirmed an order directing the deportation of Algimantas Dailide, 82, a former resident of Brecksville, Ohio, and Gulfport, Florida, for his role in the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Vilnius, Lithuania, during World War II.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting in Atlanta, earlier this week unanimously upheld an October 2003 ruling by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals, which found that in the fall of 1941, Dailide, then a member of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (the Saugumas), took part in the wartime arrest of Jewish men, women and children who were attempting to escape from forced confinement in the Vilnius Jewish ghetto. A federal court in Ohio had revoked Dailide’s U.S. citizenship in 1997, after confirming his role in the arrests.
The Saugumas systematically investigated, arrested, and turned over for punishment and execution Jews who attempted to escape from the barbed-wire enclosed Vilnius ghetto, as well as any person who tried to help Jews. Jews arrested by the Saugumas were either shot at execution pits at Paneriai, a wooded area outside Vilnius - where some 50,000 Jews were murdered during the war - or were returned to the Vilnius ghetto for further confinement under inhumane conditions. Dailide joined the Saugumas in 1941 and served until 1944, when the Nazis fled Vilnius. He entered the United States in 1950, after falsely telling U.S. immigration officials that he had been a “forester” during the war.
The Eleventh Circuit found that Dailide committed specific acts of persecution, including arresting Jews who were attempting to escape from the Vilnius ghetto. The escaping Jews were taken into custody by the Saugumas, and were turned over to Nazi security forces. The court stated: “The facts reveal Dailide’s personal and direct involvement in the persecution of Jews.”
In December 2003, Dailide fled the United States for Germany while his appeal was pending. His name has been added to the federal inter-agency visa denial system, so that he may not enter this country again.
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The Dailide appeal was litigated before the Eleventh Circuit by OSI Senior Trial Attorney Jeffrey L. Menkin. Three of Dailide’s Saugumas colleagues were previously prosecuted by OSI. In 1996, a federal court in Boston denaturalized Vilnius Saugumas Chief Aleksandras Lileikis, who fled to Lithuania and died there before his trial on genocide charges could be completed. In 1996, a federal court in Washington, DC, revoked the citizenship of Kazys Gimzauskas, Lileikis' deputy and a former resident of St. Petersburg, Florida. In February 2001, Gimzauskas was convicted by a Lithuanian court of participating in genocide. In 1998, a federal court in Tampa denaturalized Adolph Milius of St. Petersburg, who had participated with Dailide in the arrests of Jewish civilians. Milius also fled to Lithuania, where he died in 1999.
The case 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 95 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, more than 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.