NEW YORK (May. 24)
Eleven Jewish organizations joined Tuesday with Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman in urging Attorney General Edwin Meese to immediately designate a country of deportation for accused war criminal Boleslavs Maikovskis.
Maikovskis, who served during World War II as a police chief in Latvia, was found in 1984 to be deportable for persecutions under the Nazis and for lying to gain entry into the United States.
But though he has exhausted all avenues of appeal in the American justice system, Maikovskis still resides at his home in Mineola, N.Y.
Holtzman and representatives of the Jewish groups held a news conference on the case Monday on the steps of the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. They distributed a letter they had sent to Meese registering “dismay over the Justice Department’s failure for the past two years to designate a country of deportation” for Maikovskis.
Holtzman called Meese’s failure to act “the equivalent of giving sanctions to Nazi war criminals in the United States.”
The Justice Department was charged with finding a country of deportation after the U.S. Supreme Court refused, in June 1986, to review Maikovskis’ appeal of a September 1985 deportation ruling. Switzerland, the country of Maikovskis’ choosing, rejected his request for asylum in 1984.
Maikovskis entered the United States in 1951 under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, stating on his application form that between 1941 to 1944 he was a bookkeeper for the Latvian Railway Department. He did not mention his stint as chief of police in the Latvian town of Rezekne.
LATVIAN VILLAGERS MURDERED
The U.S. Court of Appeals found that in December 1941, Maikovskis “ordered his Latvian police to join with German soldiers in arresting all of the Audrini (Latvia) villagers, totaling 200 to 300 men, women and children.”
Ten days later, says the letter, under Maikovskis’ orders, “his policemen assisted the Germans in burning the village to the ground” and subsequently shooting dead all the Audrini villagers.
Elliot Welles, director of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League’s Task Force on Nazi War Criminals, said at the news conference that Maikovskis was sentenced to death in absentia in Riga, Latvia, in 1965.
The Soviet Union, of which Latvia is now part, has requested Maikovskis’ extradition, but no extradition treaty exists between the United States and the Soviet Union.
“It’s very sad that the U.S. judicial system is protecting such a man,” Welles said.
The ADL wrote a letter to the Justice Department more than a year ago saying that “the courts have spoken, and we are waiting for an answer from the Justice Department,” said Ruti Teitel, ADL legal counsel.
Menachem Rosensaft, founder of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and chairman of the World Jewish Congress Commission on Human Rights, said it was “simply outrageous that we find ourselves here, year after year, making sure that this country does not give haven to Nazi war criminals.”
‘RELUCTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL’
Rosensaft, also recently elected president of the Labor Zionist Alliance, said, “In case after case, we have had to drag the attorney general kicking and screaming. Ed Meese is the most reluctant attorney general since the creation of the Office of Special Investigations,” which investigates alleged Nazi war criminals living in this country.
Meese “has been notoriously unresponsive” to the call to deport Nazi war criminals, Rosensaft charged.
The Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment.
Christopher Simpson, in his recently published book, “Blowback,” an account of America’s post-war recruitment of former Nazis, writes that Maikovskis was on the payroll of organizations of Nazi-dominated Baltic emigre groups financed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
In addition to ADL, the International Network, the Labor Zionist Alliance and WJC, groups signing the letter included American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the Generation After, Holocaust Survivors Association USA, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.