NEW YORK (May. 17)
Allegations that U.S. officials smuggled hundreds of Russian-born Nazi war criminals into the United States after World War II for anti-Soviet propaganda and intelligence purposes might be investigated by Congress shortly. Rep. Barney Frank (D. Mass.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, said yesterday that he would call for an investigation.
Frank appeared on the CBS-TV “60 Minutes” program yesterday where John Loftus, a former prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), charged that State Department and other officials smuggled known war criminals into the country in violation of specific orders from Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and that various government agencies were covering up this operation as recently as 1978.
According to Loftus, the fact that Nazi war criminals were brought into the U.S. clandestinely by government officials aware of their past activities, seriously hampered the OSI’s efforts to expose and prosecute them.
The government must prove that alleged collaborators lied about their Nazi past when applying for admission to the country and for U.S. citizenship, before the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) can denaturalize them and begin deportation proceedings.
SAYS FILES WERE WITHHELD
“We had one unit of the government out trying to prosecute the Nazis and other units of the government trying to secret the information,” Loftus said on “60 Minutes.” The former prosecutor, who is now in private practice, said the OSI “established that the files pertaining to the Nazi immigration had been withheld from Congress, from the courts, from the CIA and from the local agents of the Immigration Service.”
Spokesmen for the Defense and State Departments and the FBI declined immediate comment on the charges. But a Justice Department spokesman said the Department is “aware of these allegations and is looking into them.” (See P.2 for State Department reaction.)
Loftus estimated that more than 300 Nazi collaborators from the Soviet Republic of Byelorussia are living in the U.S. at this time. Some are still employed by government and quasi-government agencies, he said.
The Washington Post reported today that officials of Radio Free Europe Radio/Liberty confirmed that it employed several alleged collaborators named in the “60 Minutes” program but that they are believed to have been cleared by the government.
TWO WAR CRIMINALS IDENTIFIED
One of them was identified as Stanislau Stankevitch, recently deceased, who reportedly confessed to the OSI that he was in charge of the large-scale extermination of Jews in Byelorussia. Stankevitch, a former freelancer for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, died before he was prosecuted.
Another free lancer employed by the joint radio operation who was named on “60 Minutes” is Vilis Hazner. The INS tried but failed to deport him and Hazner, suspended during the investigation has since been rehired according to William Kratch, New York bureau chief of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
According to “Nazi War Criminals in America–Facts…Action” by Charles Allen and Rochelle Saidel-Wolk, Hazner was accused of atrocities against Jews in Riga while an officer of the Latvian “Self-Defense Group” and the Nazi-controlled police organization in Riga, the Schutzmannschaft. He was reported in 1980 to be a resident of Dresden, New York.
CHARGES CONGRESS WAS TOLD ‘FLAT LIES’
Loftus charged that Congress was told “flat lies” when it asked the Army in 1978 for information on III Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. The Army claimed it had no files on the suspects. The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported in 1978 that it found that Army intelligence agencies
The counter-motion which defeated the Butler measure was led by Rep. Frank who observed; “We have made an historic commitment to weed out and deport war criminals as long as they live. If we were to stop hunting Nazi war criminals it would send a terrible signal to other nations of the world.”