Trifa Stripped of U.S. Citizenship
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Trifa Stripped of U.S. Citizenship

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Federal District Judge Horace Gilmore has officially revoked the U.S. citizenship of Rumanian Orthodox Archbishop Valerian Trifa of Gross Lake, Mich. The action followed Trifa’s voluntary surrender of his citizenship papers two weeks ago and ends the denaturalization phase of the U.S. government’s five-year-old case against Trifa.

Trifa is accused of concealing his ties to the Fascist Rumanian Iron Guard when he entered the U.S. in 1950 and when he was granted U.S. citizenship in 1957. He is accused of inciting a Bucharest pogrom in 1941 which killed 236 Jews and Christians. During the court proceedings last ### Trifa was also forced to ### his passport.

U.S. attorneys in the case said deportation proceedings against Trifa would be started as soon as the proper papers could be drawn up. Dr. Charles Kremer, the 83-year-old dent###t whose 25-year effort led to the government’s indictment against Trifa, told reporters outside the Detroit courtroom that he was unhappy that the government did not file the papers on Wednesday.

Kremer said he would not feel vindicated until Trifa was deported.

Detroit attorney Peter Alter, a member of the National Law Commission of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, commented after the proceedings that deportation should be started immediately.

“No justice can be done,” Alter said, if due process is not followed swiftly. He speculated that Trifa surrendered his citizenship papers because he did not want to be subjected to the embarrassment of a full trial. “The government’s case has become very substantial,” Alter said.


In statements delivered to The Jewish News Trifa and his attorney, George Woods, charged that the case against the archbishop was on international conspiracy. Woods’ statement was an excerpt from his book about the case, “The Undoing.”

According to Trifa’s Rumanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, “From a simple suit for denaturalization, the Bishop’s case had grown into a vast historical debate over Fascism in Rumania, the relationship of the ‘Iron Guard’ to Nazi Germany, and the proper labeling of the Legionary Movement on the political spectrum.

“With teams of government lawyers winging their way to Europe and the Near East to depose witnesses and search out public and private documents, it has been made out to be a case with international political ramifications involving Congressional politics, secret connections between Richard Nixon and nefarious Rumanian industrialists (the machinations of Nixon being always a topic designed to arouse public indignation), and anonymous American ‘protectors’ of ex-Nazis scattered across the country.”

Trifa’s supporters claim that Trifa’s speech to the Iron Guard in 1941 ended peacefully. Others claim that his speech was directly responsible for the beginning of the Bucharest pogrom that led to the deaths of hundreds of Jews.

According to Woods, “One could hardly deny that Bishop Trifa was verbal and critical of what he and so many others felt was the undue influence of Rumanian Jews in the political and economic fabric….”

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