FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CRM
June 26, 1996 (202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT REVOKES U.S. CITIZENSHIP OF FORMER SECURITY
POLICE OFFICIAL IN NAZI-OCCUPIED LITHUANIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced today
that it has won a default judgment in U.S. District Court in the
District of Columbia revoking the United States citizenship of
Kazys Gimzauskas, a former resident of St. Petersburg, Florida,
presently residing in Lithuania, based on his involvement in
arrests and killings in Lithuania in collaboration with the Nazis
during World War II.
In October 1995, the Criminal Division's Office of Special
Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the
District of Columbia filed a complaint seeking to revoke
Gimzauskas' U.S. citizenship.
The complaint alleged that from 1941 through 1944, Gimzauskas,
88, was a senior official in two units of the Nazi-sponsored
Lithuanian Security Police, the Saugumas. The Saugumas had special
responsibility for Jewish matters which corresponded closely to
that borne by the German Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. The
Saugumas played an integral role in the implementation of Nazi
racial policy in Lithuania, particularly the annihilation of
Lithuania's Jews. The Saugumas was a component of Einsatzkommando
3 (Operational Detachment 3), a unit of the German Security Police
and Service responsible for the physical destruction of the Jews of
Lithuania, among other tasks.
The complaint alleged that Gimzauskas headed the Saugumas
Interrogations/Investigations Section in Kaunas, Lithuania, from
July 1941 until October or November 1941 and that he thereafter
served until July 1944 in Vilnius, Lithuania, as Deputy Chief of
the Saugumas for Vilnius Province. Kaunas was the wartime capital
of Lithuania; Vilnius is the present capital.
In his latter position, Gimzauskas was second-in-command to
Vilnius Province Saugumas Chief Aleksandras Lileikis. Lileikis was
ordered denaturalized by a federal court in Boston on May 24, 1996,
on the basis of the court's determination that "tens of thousands
died under his command of the Saugumas." Lileikis subsequently
fled the United States and returned to Lithuania on June 19, 1996.
OSI has also filed a denaturalization suit against Algimantas
Dailide, a former Vilnius Saugumas member now living in Cleveland.
The case against Dailide is in the pretrial discovery stage with
trial scheduled for November.
Documents signed by Gimzauskas and found by OSI in the
Lithuanian Central State Archives confirm his Saugumas service and
prove that he personally ordered the arrest, interrogation, and
incarceration of civilians. These documents establish that he
ordered civilians, primarily Jews, turned over to the German
Security Police for execution. The complaint quotes extensively
from examples of these documents, one of which shows Gimzauskas
dispatching for execution an American-born woman who had been
arrested because she was "suspected of being a Jew."
Gimzauskas entered the United States in 1956 under the Refugee
Relief Act of 1953. The complaint charged that he was not eligible
to enter the United States, however, since the Act barred the entry
of those who had "personally advocated or assisted in the
persecution of any person or group of persons because of race,
religion, or national origin."
Gimzauskas abandoned his U.S. residence and returned to
Lithuania more than two years ago, while he was under investigation
"This is a significant victory in the U.S. Government's
vigorous law enforcement effort in cases of suspected participants
in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution," OSI Director Eli M.
Rosenbaum stated. "Others who, like Kazys Gimzauskas, played a
provable role in the Nazi regime's genocidal reign of terror should
be on notice that the Government remains steadfast in its
commitment to tracing them, revoking their ill-gotten U.S.
citizenships, and removing them from these shores as expeditiously
as possible," he added.
Rosenbaum noted that the post-Cold War access gained by OSI to
archives in the formerly communist countries of eastern and central
Europe had "significantly enhanced" the Department's ability to
identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi
persecution who immigrated to the United States after World War II.
The Gimzauskas prosecution, Rosenbaum added, was a direct
consequence of this new-found access. Since OSI began operation in
1979, 57 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship
and 48 such persons have been removed from the United States. More
than 300 persons remain under investigation.
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