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Alleged War Criminal Charged

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A 67-year-old former Latvian policeman, Elmars Sprogis, now a retired construction worker living in Brentwood, Long Island, was accused by the Justice Department yesterday of concealing wartime aid to the Nazis in the killing of Jews and Soviet prisoners of war when he applied for and obtained American citizenship in 1962.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Brooklyn, was the first step in the department’s effort to strip Sprogis of his citizenship so that he can be deported. Sprogis was charged specifically with concealing his role as an assistant police chief in Gulbene and as police chief in Madona, both in Nazi-occupied Latvia.

The department charged that Sprogis helped the Nazis murder Jews and confiscated their property in Gulbene and that he took part in the murder of Soviet war prisoners in Madona. The department asked the court to cancel Sprogis’ citizenship. Sprogis, who came to the United States in 1950, has 20 days to answer the department’s complaint.

Sprogis confirmed he had been a Latvian policeman during the Nazi occupation of Latvia but denied he took part in any atrocities.

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