The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to revoke the citizenship of two former Lithuanian nationals who allegedly participated in Nazi-sponsored acts during World War II.
The first complaint was filed Dec. 7 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland against Algimantas Dailide of Brecksville, Ohio. The complaint alleges that the 73-year-old real estate agent served in the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police in Vilnius, Lithuania, during World War II.
The second complaint was filed Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleging that Wiatscheslaw (Chester) Rydlinskis, a resident of Bloomingdale, Ill., served as a Nazi concentration camp guard and guard dog handler in the SS Death’s Head Battalion during World War II.
Both cases were filed jointly by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in each city.
Rydlinskis, born in Lithuania in 1924, allegedly joined the Waffen (armed) SS in 1941 and served in the SS Death’s Head Battalion at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps from 1941 to 1945.
The complaint against Rydlinskis, a retired draftsman, charges that while at the Laura subcamp of Buchenwald, the defendant also guarded the camp’s inmates to prevent their escape as they were evacuated in cattle cars and by forced march toward the Dachau death camp in late March 1945.
Many prisoners died during the evacuation due to the hash conditions, including inadequate food and water and abuse by guards.
According to the complaint, Rydlinskis was arrested by British military forces and held as a war crimes suspect, then was transferred to U.S. custody in Allied-controlled Germany, where he was held for almost two years.
U.S. officials have not disclosed why he was released.
The complaint charges that Rydlinskis obtained a U.S. immigrant visa in Germany in 1956 by concealing his wartime activities and his arrest and detention by British and American military forces.
The complaint against Dailide alleges that he took part in the Nazi-allied Saugumas, or security police, in Vilnius province. The Saugumas was a subordinate component of the German Security Police and Security Service.
The Saugumas aided the occupying Nazi forces in arresting, detaining and turning over for execution Jews caught outside their barbed-wire ghettos or those who were trying to escape.
The complaint also charges that Dailide concealed his wartime activities when applying to immigrate to the United States in 1949.
The Dailide case is the latest in a series of Nazi war criminal cases made possible with the help of Lithuanian records.
The Lithuanian government has recently made available World War II records to Justice Department investigators.
In September, OSI initiated against two other men accused of war crimes in Lithuania.
One of the cases is against Aleksandras Lileikis of Norwood, Mass., who is accused of having been the chief of the Saugumas for the entire Vilnius province and thus Dailide’s boss. His case is moving through the courts.