United States deports Lithuanian for WWII crimes

  • 2004-01-22
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The United States Justice Department announced on Jan. 15 that it has signed deportation orders for Algimantas Dailide, a Lithuanian who has been accused of persecuting Jews as a member of the Saugumas, the Nazi-sponsored security police in Lithuania, during World War II.

Justice Department officials said Dailde, an 82-year-old real estate agent from Florida who was deprived of his U.S. citizenship in 1997, had departed for Germany. It was unclear, however, if Dailide left the country on his own volition or if he was escorted by Immigration and Naturalization officials.
In October an appellate court upheld a Florida-based immigration court's decision to deport Dailide, saying that he had taken part in the arrest of Jews who attempted to flee the ghetto in Vilnius.
"The Saugumas systematically arrested and turned over for punishment and execution Jews who attempted to escape confinement from the Vilnius ghetto, as well as any person who tried to help them. Jews arrested by the Saugumas were shot at execution pits at Paneriai, a wooded area outside Vilnius where some 50,000 Jews were murdered during the war," Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray said in a statement.
Dailide served in the security police from 1941 until 1944, when the Germans were retreating from Lithuania. He first entered the United States in 1950 and later became a U.S. citizen. He informed immigration authorities that he had worked as a forester during the war.
However, after Dailide's role in the Holocaust came to light, an Ohio court revoked his U.S. citizenship in 1997.
Rimvydas Valentukevicius, Lithuania's senior prosecutor in charge of special investigations, told the Baltic News Service that no official information has been received about Dailide so far, adding that "institutions are cooperating, and Lithuanian officials are aware of Dailide's travel routes."
Lithuanian prosecutors do not plan to bring genocide charges against the suspect due to insufficient data to ground the accusations.
Under the new Criminal and Criminal Process Code that took effect last July, prosecutors launched a pretrial investigation under the article of the criminal code, which stipulates punishment for prohibited treatment of people.