NEW YORK (Mar. 21)
The chief prosecutor in the federal government’s deportation case against Mrs. Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan, the convicted ex-Nazi living in the borough of Queens, said today that he was eager to have former concentration camp inmates contact him with the view of testifying against her.
While he is not “advertising” for witnesses, Vincent Schiano of the Immigration and Naturalization Service told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he would “certainly appreciate” hearing from survivors of Ravensbrueck and Maidanek who can testify to Mrs. Ryan’s activities there, especially those living in the United States.
Mrs. Ryan, 53, was convicted in Austria, in 1949 of beating and torturing women and children prisoners as “one of the most dreaded” of Nazi guards, according to the transcript of that trial. But because she did not note this on applying for American citizenship in 1959, she lost that citizenship last Sept. The government, spurred on by Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal of Vienna, is now trying to deport her. She faces murder charges in Austria.
CLAIMS COMPLETE AMNESTY
Mrs. Ryan’s husband, Russell, a 48-year-old mechanic, testified yesterday that his wife had advised him that she had been granted complete amnesty by a Vienna court, whereas she had received only partial amnesty. “She told me she was convicted of war crimes but that she never committed these crimes,” he told Schiano, Admitting that he had never questioned her carefully about her past, Ryan said of Maidanek: “It was not generally a death camp. She told me on two or three occasions she saw wagons being pushed through the camp with bodies on it.”
A week ago, a self-styled Jewish “Resistance League” sought to firebomb the Ryan home but hit instead a building with a similar street number half a mile away, causing little damage. The current hearings are closed to all but the press for Mrs. Ryan’s protection.
Ryan testified yesterday that he and his wife have slept with a loaded shotgun nearby for the past five years because of threats of “assassination and kidnaping to Israel.” When his wife’s background was publicized in 1968, he said, she lost her job “because her employers were Jews.” Several defense witnesses–neighbors of the Ryans–were scheduled to testify today at Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters here. (See P. 3 for late developments.)