WASHINGTON (Jan. 16)
The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has rejected the appeal of Reinhold Kulle, a former SS guard leader at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp who was ordered deported in 1984 by the Federal Immigration Court in Chicago. In a rare move, the BIA also took action that is expected to result in the cancellation of Kulle’s social security benefits.
Kulle, 65, admitted during his 1983 trial that he had served during World War II as an officer in the “Totenkopf” (Death’s Head) division of the Waffen-SS at the notorious Gross-Rosen camp in Upper Silesia.
In affirming the lower court’s deportation order, the BIA noted that Kulle’s SS service “primarily consisted of being a guard and training guards who made the brutal Nazi concentration camp system achieve its goals. ” Some 100,000 civilian inmates and Allied POWs perished at Gross-Rosen.
Although the lower court had found Kulle deportable solely on the basis of his “assistance in Nazi persecution,” the BIA ruled that the evidence established that he was deportable on the additional ground that he had obtained his U.S. immigration visa by fraudulently concealing his wartime past.
A SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE
According to World Jewish Congress general counsel Eli Rosenbaum, who was co-counsel for the government at the 1983 trial while serving as a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, this last aspect of the BIA’s decision has special significance. Rosenbaum explained that the finding of fraud means that when Kulle is finally deported, he will lose his entitlement to social security benefits.
The Kulle case highlights the need for the enactment of legislation that would directly revoke the social security benefits of proven Nazi war criminals, Rosenbaum said today. “It is the height of indecency to use the contributions of hard-working Americans, including thousands of Holocaust survivors, to fund the retirement dreams of those who helped perpetrate Hitler’s genocidal bloodbath,” he asserted.