WASHINGTON – An immigration judge in Chicago has ordered Chicago resident Osyp Firishchak removed from the United States for his role in a Ukrainian police unit that assisted in the annihilation of over 100,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied L’viv, Poland (now in Ukraine), during World War II, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.
Immigration Judge Robert Vinikoor ordered Firishchak, 87, removed to his native Ukraine on the basis of his service in the Nazi-operated Ukrainian Auxiliary Police (UAP) during World War II. Firishchak, who was born in Trebuszany in present-day Ukraine, immigrated to the United States in 1949 and became a U.S. citizen in 1954.
Judge Vinikoor ruled that Firishchak participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution and acquiesced in “conduct contrary to civilization and human decency” on behalf of the Third Reich. In issuing his five-page ruling, Judge Vinikoor adopted the 2005 findings of a district court that stripped Firishchak of his U.S. citizenship. That court ruled that Firishchak “was a participant in an organization that perpetrated some of the most horrific acts against human decency ever known in history,” rejected Firishchak’s “completely unbelievable” testimony, and noted that his “shameless attempt to excuse himself from an inexcusable act is cowardly.”
The Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which investigated the case, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security brought the removal action against Firishchak in March 2007. The government alleged that, between October 1941 and July 1944, Firishchak routinely enforced Nazi anti-Jewish policies during his service with the UAP and took part in actions to reduce the population of the Jewish Ghetto, guarded posts to keep Jews from escaping capture, and hunted Jews who attempted to hide or flee. OSI and ICE also alleged that Firishchak concealed his UAP service when he immigrated to the United States.
OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said, “Osyp Firishchak and his fellow UAP policemen played a central role in the murder of more than 100,000 Jewish men, women and children of Nazi-occupied L’viv. This order is another victory for the principle that the United States will not provide a safe haven for human rights violators no matter how long ago the crimes were committed.” Rosenbaum noted that the district court found that between March 1942 and June 1943, virtually all of the more than 100,000 Jewish residents of L’viv were seized and transported to Nazi killing centers such as the Belzec extermination camp, or to forced labor camps, where few survived the brutal conditions.
OSI filed a denaturalization lawsuit against Firishchak in December 2003. The District Court decision revoking his citizenship was upheld in 2006 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The removal case is a result of OSI’s continuing efforts to identify, investigate and take legal action against participants in Nazi crimes of persecution who reside in the United States, and it was litigated by Senior Trial Attorneys William H. Kenety and Tina Giffin. Since OSI began operations in 1979, it has won cases against 107 individuals who participated in Nazi crimes of persecution. In addition, attempts by more than 180 individuals implicated in wartime Axis crimes to enter the United States have been prevented as a result of OSI’s “Watch List” program, which is enforced in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.