MILWAUKEE (Apr. 5)
A federal immigration judge has ordered the deportation of Anton Tittjung, a 69-year-old suburban Milwaukee man found to have lied about serving as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II.
Tittjung has until April 29 to designate a destination, according to an April 1 ruling by U.S. Immigration Judge G. MacKenzie Rast in Chicago. If Tittjung does not meet the deadline, he will be deported to Croatia, site of the Yugoslav town of his birth.
After a three-day denaturalization hearing in 1990, a federal judge in Milwaukee ruled Tittjung had lied about his background to gain entry into the United States in 1952 and to obtain citizenship in 1974.
U.S. law prohibits entry by former Nazi concentration camp guards.
Mordecai Lee, executive director of the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations, called deportation a fitting consequence for Tittjung’s wartime actions. “We’re dealing with a clear-cut violation of federal law, and the consequences of breaking that federal law seem overwhelmingly obvious,” he said.
“If a person lies to become an American citizen, then it only makes sense that the consequence is to strip the person of that citizenship and restore them to the legal and geographical status they would have had, had they not lied in the first place,” said Lee.
He added he is “baffled by those who say ‘forgive and forget,’” including Tittjung’s wife and members of their Roman Catholic parish.
WIFE QUESTIONS WHY JEWS ARE INTERESTED
“Mr. Tittjung was an active participant in the worst act of genocide in recorded history,” Lee said. “It’s no wonder that not only does that disqualify him for American citizenship, but there’s no statute of limitations on correcting the wrong based on his wartime record.”
Tittjung’s wife, Katarina, was quoted April 2 in The Milwaukee Journal as saying her husband “went to war like everyone else” and that the United States has denied him justice. She told the Milwaukee Sentinel she could not understand why Jews would show interest in the case.
Lee retorted that these comments are “not surprising” coming “from the wife of someone who denies participating in the Final Solution and who expects forgiveness without ever admitting to anything or asking for forgiveness.”
“Tittjung’s strategy has been to run out the clock by filing as many appeals as he is legally entitled to, notwithstanding their lack of legal merit,” Lee said.
“He is hoping to take advantage of the American concept of justice to evade justice. The victims of the Holocaust did not have those legal protections.”
The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations used captured Nazi documents to prove Tittjung was a member of the SS Death Head’s Battalion and was an armed guard at the Mauthausen camp near Linz, Austria, and its Grossraming subcamp.