Chicago Man Departs U.s., Admits He Was War Criminal
Menu JTA Search

Chicago Man Departs U.s., Admits He Was War Criminal

A Chicago man who admitted serving in a Lithuanian mobile killing unit during World War II has voluntarily left the United States, the U.S. Justice Department reported.

Joseph (Juozas) Grabauskas, 74, a retired chemist, departed last week after signing an agreement with the Office of Special Investigations, the department’s Nazi-prosecuting unit.

The department had brought a denaturalization case against Grabauskas in January.

In the agreement, Grabauskas admitted that his wartime membership in the 2nd Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft (Protective Detachment) Battalion made him ineligible for the immigrant visa he used to enter the United States in 1949, under the Displaced Persons Act. He was therefore ineligible for American citizenship, which he obtained in 1955.

Grabauskas joined the battalion in July 1941 and in this position was a participant in Nazisponsored persecution.

From 1941 to 1942, the 2nd Battalion participated in the mass murder of thousands of unarmed Jews and others in Byelorussia (now Belarus).

The killings were conducted under the name Operation Barbarossa, a campaign launched June 21, 1941, with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Nazis had recruited local collaborators for mobile killings squads that eradicated towns and villages.