WASHINGTON (Oct. 15)
The U.S. Supreme Court reserved decision today, offer bearing tor more than on hour, arguments by U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti on an appeal by on alleged Nazi war criminal against denaturalization. The appellant, Feodor Federenko, faces loss at citizenship on grounds that he failed to disclose his Nazi record when he arrived in the U.S. in 1949 and later when he applied for citizenship which was granted to him in 1970.
It is believed to be the first time that a case involving on alleged Nazi war criminal has reached the nation’s highest tribunal. It also marks the first time a U.S. Attorney General has taken part in such proceedings. When Civiletti argued the case tor the government, it was the first time for him as the nation’s chief low enforcement officer, to appear before the Supreme Court.
Federenko, who was born in the Ukraine in 1907, was charged by the U.S. government with having been on armed guard at the Treblinka concentration camp in 1942-43 where he participated in beating and shooting Jewish inmates. The Federal District Court in Miami ruled against depriving him of citizenship on grounds that the government had not presented adequate evidence. The defense argued that Federenko’s service at the camp was involuntary.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in June 1979 overruled the District Court’s opinion and ordered Federenko’s denaturalization, against which he is now appealing to the Supreme Court.
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and International Low, which handles cases involving war criminals living in the U.S., applauded Civiletti’s appearance. “In many respects, ” she said, “the Attorney General’s appearance in this case represents the culmination at my long standing efforts to convince our government to take action against war criminals who have found sanctuary in this country.”