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Former Commander of a Nazi Prison in Estonia is Ordered Deported

An Immigration and Naturalization Judge has ordered the deportation of Karl Linnas, 63, of Greenvale, Long Island, on charges he commanded a Nazi prison in Tartu in occupied Estonia during World War II.

Judge Howard Cohen affirmed three previous federal court findings that Linnas has served as an officer in an Estonian partisan group which collaborated with the German army and that he conducted executions at the prison at which more than 12,000 Eastern European victims, including 2,000 Jews, were murdered.

Linnas was stripped of his citizenship in a non-jury trial conducted in July, 1981, by Judge Jacob Mishler in federal district court in Westbury, L.I., who ruled that Linnas had concealed his World War II crimes.

The case was started in June, 1981, by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which accused Linnas of lying to immigration authorities in 1951, when he came to the United States as a displaced person, and again when he became a naturalized citizen in 1960. Judge Mishler’s ruling was upheld by the federal Court of Appeals and allowed by the Supreme Court to let stand in October, 1982. Linnas is expected to appeal the deportation ruling, a proceeding which could go to the Supreme Court.

Neal Sher, acting OSI director, said Linnas had chosen Esthonia as the country he wanted to be sent to, if the deportation order was sustained in any appeal. Sher said that since Esthonia is now part of the Soviet Union, which provided some of the documents used in evidence in the Judge Mishler hearing and which sentenced Linnas in absentia for war crimes, Linnas will be deported to the Soviet Union.

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