NEW YORK (Jun. 24)
The Justice Department has begun denaturalization proceedings against a Putnam County, N.Y., resident suspected of participating in the mass murder of Jews in Poland during World War II as a member of the Trawniki SS unit.
A complaint against Jack “Jakob” Reimer, 73, was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by the Office of Special Investigations of the Department’s criminal division and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
It accuses him of willfully concealing his Nazi activities to gain entry into the United States in 1952 and obtain U.S. citizenship in 1959.
The action was immediately commended by the Anti-Defamation League, which observed that “the work of the OSI remains crucially important.
“No one should be allowed to gain the blessing and benefits of American citizenship by means of covering up involvement in mass murder and crimes against humanity,” said Elliot Welles, director of the ADL’s Task Force on Nazi War Criminals.
According to the complaint, Reimer admitted under oath to OSI attorneys last month that he served in the Trawniki SS unit, that its purpose was to assist the Nazi liquidation of Jews and that as a member, he participated in the destruction of the Jewish ghettos in Warsaw and Czestochowa in Poland.
The OSI also alleges that Reimer admitted participating in a mass execution of Jews in the vicinity of Trawniki, Poland, in 1941 or 1942 and that he personally fired his rifle into a group of 40 to 60 Jews forced into a mass grave.
Reimer, Ukrainian by birth, received German citizenship in 1944. Before his retirement he was a restaurant manager and distributor of snack foods.
The action initiated against him was a sign that, despite recent criticism, the OSI’s Nazi-hunting days are far from over.
Just last week, the unit initiated denaturalization proceedings against Jonas Stelmokas, a retired Philadelphia architect charged with having been a high-ranking officer who helped Nazis murder Lithuanian Jews during World War II.
The agency is under investigation for the quality of the evidence it used to deport John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born former resident of Cleveland, to Israel to stand trial as the alleged Treblinka death camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible.”
OSI Director Neal Sher said the Reimer case is only one of several his unit is planning to initiate this summer. He said that 42 Nazis or collaborators have been stripped of U.S. citizenship to date as a result of OSI investigations. Of those, 30 have been expelled from the country. Sher said OSI has 500 investigations in progress.