NEW YORK (May. 18)
American Jewish leaders and organizations urged the Reagan Administration and Congress today to undertake immediate investigations of allegations that U.S. officials smuggled hundreds of Russian-born Nazi war criminals into the country after World War II and that various government agencies covered up that covert operation for years thereafter.
The charges were made by John Loftus, former prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), in an appearance on the CBS-TV “60 Minutes” program Sunday.
The B’nai B’rith International, in a resolution approved unanimously by its Board of Governors at their semi-annual meeting in Washington, demanded an immediate probe by the Administration and Congress to determine who was responsible for the smuggling and cover-up.
According to Loftus, hundreds of collaborators who belonged to the Nazi-controlled Byelorussian puppet government during World War II, were clandestinely brought to the U.S. for anti-Soviet propaganda and intelligence purposes. Many were participants in the extermination of Jews.
The B’nai B’rith International resolution said: “Just action should be taken against those U.S. officials responsible for either the development of this policy or the cover-up and expeditious steps should be taken to expel Nazi war criminals from our country.”
Nathan Perlmutter, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in New York, called on the House Judiciary Committee and the Administration to open immediate investigations of the allegations. “The American people have the right to know whether reputed Nazi war criminals are presently employed in any capacity by the U.S. government,” Perlmutter said. He said the disclosures on the “60 Minutes” program “confirmed earlier reports of such immoral operations.”
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, called on President Reagan to name a commission “of impeccable stature, with full powers and with your total support” to investigate the charges. In a telegram to the White House, Schindler said:
“That agencies of the U.S. government would defy Presidential directives, mislead the Congress and violate the most fundamental American traditions of morality and decency in hiring the most loathsome creatures of our generation is a charge of such magnitude that it requires a prompt and thorough investigation by a Presidential commission.”
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT IS PROBING CHARGES
Meanwhile, the Justice Department said yesterday in a prepared statement that it has been investigating “for some time” whether the war criminals entered the United States illegally, with or without the help of U.S. officials. “If and when evidence of that strength is assembled in the investigations of Byelorussian emigres, charges will be filed against them just as they have been in more than two dozen other cases in the last three years,” the Department statement said.
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 can denaturalize them and begin deportation proceedings.