Washington Times | Dec. 13, 2001 | Jerry Seper

Man, 78, faces deportation

The Justice Department has asked a federal immigration court to deport a 78-year-old man on accusations he participated in the persecution of Jews during World War II while serving as an armed guard at two SS slave-labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The deportation request, filed Tuesday afternoon, follows a July 2001 decision by the U.S. District Court in Syracuse, N.Y., to revoke Mykola Wasylyk's citizenship based on his Nazi guard service.

Justice Department officials said a charging document filed in U.S. Immigration Court in Manhattan by the department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, says Mr. Wasylyk served in 1943 as an armed perimeter guard at the SS Labor Camp Trawniki, a training and base camp facility in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The camp prepared Eastern European recruits to assist German personnel in implementing "Operation Reinhard," the Nazi campaign to annihilate Jews in Poland, the officials said.

The charging document said that while Mr. Wasylyk received training at Trawniki, he served as an armed guard at an adjacent slave-labor camp for Jews. It noted that in June 1943, Mr. Wasylyk was transferred to serve as an armed guard at the nearby SS Labor Camp Budzy, a slave-labor camp located near the Polish town of Kranik.

Justice Department officials said thousands of Jewish men, women and children were incarcerated under inhumane conditions at those two camps and forced to work as slave laborers. They said many died in these camps from starvation, disease, shooting and hanging. Prisoners who were no longer able to work were routinely shot or shipped to killing centers, they said.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, who heads the department's Criminal Division, said armed, uniformed guards "like Wasylyk served to oppress the inmates at these terrible camps and they deterred any attempts to escape, resist or obtain help." He said Mr. Wasylyk "participated significantly in the Nazis' genocidal plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe."

Eli M. Rosenbaum, who heads OSI, along with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Manhattan, brought the case against Mr. Wasylyk. He said thousands of "innocent civilians suffered and died at the Trawniki and Budzy camps while Mykola Wasylyk and his cohorts stood guard."

"The United States must continue to deny sanctuary to those who helped the Nazis carry out their program of brutality and murder," Mr. Rosenbaum said.

Mr. Wasylyk, a native of Ukraine, entered the United States in 1949, using a visa he obtained in Germany. At that time, department officials said Mr. Wasylyk falsely told U.S. immigration officials that he worked during the war for a paper firm in Dresden, Germany. He became a U.S. citizen in 1955.

The Justice Department, as part of an ongoing program to identify and take legal action against participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country, has seen 66 persons stripped of U.S. citizenship and 54 removed from the United States since 1979. Nearly 200 people are currently under investigation by OSI.