PHILADELPHIA (Jun. 24)
Serge Kowalchuk, an alleged Nazi during World War II who has been convicted of lying about his past on his request for an American visa and later citizenship, failed to appear at a deportation hearing here Friday. His attorney divulged that he has fled to Paraguay to avoid the possibility of being returned to face trial in the Soviet Union.
According to Ronnie Edelman, an attorney for the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Department of Justice, the proceedings against Kowalchuk, 67 of Philadelphia, will be held in absentia, with the OSI seeking an order of deportation from Immigration and Naturalization Service Judge Bruce Michael Barrett.
Edelman said the government asked in February 1986 that Kowalchuk be deported, probably to the Ukraine, where he worked closely with Nazis while serving in the local Ukrainian militia, according to the Justice Department.
The order deport would not result in any action since Kowalchuk is no longer in the country.
It “would be pointless” to bring him back to the United States and send him away to another country again, said Edelman, ruling out any reason for the United States to extradite him from Paraguay. The attorney stressed that if the order to deport is given, Kowalchuk would be barred from re-entering the United States.
The Philadelphia Daily News has reported that according to Kowalchuk’s attorney, John Rogers Carroll, Kowalchuk has been granted admission to Paraguay for a year.
The newspaper also reported that Tass, the official Soviet news agency, said that Kowalchuk, “if deported to the Ukraine, would face trial as a war criminal before the district assembly.”