Lithuanian Nazi chief stripped of U.S. status

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NEW YORK — The former chief of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police has been stripped of his U.S. citizenship.

Aleksandras Lileikis, 88, of Norwood, Mass., was stripped of his citizenship last week by a federal district court judge.

It was the highest-profile victory by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, its director, Eli Rosenbaum, said Tuesday.

Rosenbaum called Lileikis' denaturalization an "enormously gratifying victory," and said OSI now hopes to deport Lileikis from the United States.

"We will move as swiftly as we can," he said.

Lileikis, who for years has lived in the western suburb of Boston, came to the United States in 1955 and became a citizen in 1976.

He has acknowledged that he was the former head of the Lithuanian security police, also known as the Saugamas, in the Vilnius province. He held the position from August 1941 to July 1944.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns, who issued the judgment Friday of last week, said, "The undisputed facts show that as chief of the Vilnius Saugamas, Lileikis ordered the arrest of persons for such crimes as `suspected of being a Jew,' `escaping from the ghetto' and `hiding' a 6-year-old child.

"The undisputed record also shows that Lileikis ordered these same persons removed from the hard-labor prison under his direct control and turned over to either the Ypatingas Burys [Special Detachment] or the German Security Police."

The turnover of these people resulted in their execution.

Lileikis' lawyers argued that he had saved the life of a Jew.

But, Stearns said, "The fact, if it is one, that Lileikis had saved a solitary Jew from destruction does not atone for the tens of thousands who died under his command of the Saugamas."

Lileikis has the right to appeal the judge's decision.

The summary judgment means that the judge sided with the OSI without requiring a trial.

The OSI used as evidence documents found in the Lithuanian Central State Archives.

At least 55,000 Vilnius Jews and 220,000 Lithuanian Jews were killed during the Holocaust.