US has deported at least 67 suspected Nazi war criminals
search

US has deported at least 67 suspected Nazi war criminals

Jakiw Palij latest to be expelled from country, though only 137 of estimated 10,000 suspected Nazis ever faced legal proceedings

John Demjanjuk in a Munich courtroom, March 2012. (AP/Matthias Schrader)
John Demjanjuk in a Munich courtroom, March 2012. (AP/Matthias Schrader)

NEW YORK — Since the 1970s, the US government has initiated legal proceedings to expel just 137 of the estimated 10,000 suspected Nazi war criminals who immigrated to the US after World War II.

At least 67 have been deported, extradited, or left voluntarily, and 28 died while their cases were pending. Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old former labor camp guard, was the last living in the US with an active deportation order. He was deported to Germany Tuesday.

A look at other notable Nazi suspects removed from the US:

Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan

Ryan, a New York City housewife who hid her past as a ruthless concentration camp guard known as “The Stomping Mare,” was the first suspected Nazi war criminal that the US extradited for a war crimes prosecution.

The US sent Ryan to West Germany in 1973, where she was convicted of multiple acts of murder while a guard at the Majdanek concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, 1939. (Bundesarchiv, Bild via Wikimedia Commons)

She was also a guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany.

Ryan’s life sentence was shortened in 1996 because she was in failing health. She died three years later at age 79.

A court found Ryan was involved in the process of deciding whether inmates were sent to the gas chambers or were spared so they could perform forced labor.

John Demjanjuk

Demjanjuk, a Cleveland, Ohio, autoworker born Ivan Mykolaiovych Demianiuk in Ukraine, was deported to Germany in 2009. He was convicted there in 2011 on charges that he aided the deaths of more than 28,000 Jews as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Demjanjuk (pronounced dehm-YAHN’-yook) steadfastly denied involvement in the Holocaust, maintaining he was a victim of mistaken identity.

Signs in eight languages, Russian not among them, at the site of the Sobibor death camp in Poland. (Flickr/Sgvb)

He died in a Bavarian nursing home in 2012 at age 91 while appealing. His conviction was unprecedented in German law because it was solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence he was involved in a specific killing.

Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death on charges he was “Ivan the Terrible,” a guard who operated gas chambers at a camp where about 850,000 Jews were killed.

Israel’s Supreme Court overturned that verdict, citing evidence “Ivan” was another man.

Feodor (Fyodor) Fedorenko

Fedorenko, the first suspected Nazi war criminal deported from the US to the Soviet Union, was executed by firing squad in 1987 at age 79.

A Soviet court found the former Treblinka death camp guard guilty of treason, voluntarily joining the Nazis and participating in mass killings at the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The Treblinka extermination camp. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Fedorenko was deported in December 1984 after a seven-year battle to remain in the US, where he had worked in a Connecticut factory before retiring to Miami Beach.

The US stripped his citizenship after finding he attained it by omitting references to his Nazi service.

Trial witnesses said they saw Fedorenko beating and shooting Jews.

Fedorenko did not deny he had worked at Treblinka, but said he did not participate in any killings, telling the court, “Jews were among my best friends.”

Karl Linnas

Linnas, a concentration camp chief who settled on Long Island and worked as a land surveyor, was one of the highest-ranking Nazi collaborators expelled from the US.

Linnas was stripped of his citizenship in 1982 and sent to the Soviet Union in 1987, where he had been convicted in absentia three decades earlier, on charges he had a hand in the deaths of 12,000 people at the Tartu concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Estonia.

Linnas died of heart failure at age 67 before he could face a firing squad.

Investigators said Linnas ordered guards to fire on prisoners as they kneeled along the edge of a ditch, causing them to fall directly into their graves.

Immigrating to the US in 1951, Linnas claimed to be a person displaced by the war and failed to disclose his Nazi service. He gained citizenship in 1959.

Arthur Rudolph

Rudolph, one of the Germany’s most prominent rocket scientists, was brought to the US after World War II because of his technical skill.

NASA awarded him a Distinguished Service Medal for achievements that included his central role in the Apollo project that put a man on the moon.

Decades later he was accused of “working thousands of slave laborers to death” in the Nazi factory that built the V-2 rocket.

Rudolph signed a settlement agreement with the US in 1983.

He traveled on his US passport to West Germany in 1984. Then he went to the US General Consulate in Hamburg and renounced his citizenship. The West German government protested, but Rudolph remained there.

He was eventually granted German citizenship and collected US Social Security benefits until his death in 1996 at age 89.

Valerian (Viorel) Trifa

Trifa, the former US archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox church, relinquished his citizenship in 1980 and left for Portugal in 1984 after admitting he lied to immigration authorities to conceal his pro-Nazi activities during World War II.

The US government alleged Trifa had been an ardent Nazi supporter who wrote inflammatory newspaper articles and made anti-Jewish speeches as a member of the Iron Guard, a Romanian fascist group.

One speech, in January 1941, touched off four days of rioting in Bucharest that resulted in hundreds of deaths. Trifa denied any role in the riots.

Trifa attained a US visa through the post-war displaced persons program.

He was interned in the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps but investigators said he never told refugee officials about special treatment he received.

Trifa died in 1987 at age 72.

read more:
comments