U.S. Seeks to Revoke Citizenship of N.Y. Woman Who Hid Nazi Past
Menu JTA Search

U.S. Seeks to Revoke Citizenship of N.Y. Woman Who Hid Nazi Past

Download PDF for this date

The Justice Department has moved to revoke the American citizenship of a Queens housewife identified by Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal as a former member of the SS who served as a wartime supervisor in two Nazi death camps. A denaturalization application, which could lead to deportation, was filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. It charged that Mrs. Russell Ryan of Maspeth, Queens, was a “cruel, brutal and sadistic woman who beat and tortured defenseless prisoners” in the Ravensbruck camp in Germany and at the Maidenak camp in occupied Poland.

The application also charged that, in applying for citizenship, Mrs. Ryan had concealed the fact that she had been convicted in 1949 by an Austrian court of torturing camp inmates for which she was sentenced to three years imprisonment and confiscation of her property. The application, culminating an investigation started in 1964 when Mrs. Ryan was identified as Hermine Braunsteiner by Mr. Wiesenthal, declared that if she had disclosed the fact of her conviction, “she would have been barred from lawful admission into the United States for permanent residence and from naturalization.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund