U.S. Renews Effort to Deport Accused War Criminal to Lithuania
Menu JTA Search

U.S. Renews Effort to Deport Accused War Criminal to Lithuania

Download PDF for this date

Federal prosecutors have filed a motion in Boston asking a court to find that an accused war criminal admitted to taking part in destroying the Jewish population of Vilnius, Lithuania, during World War II.

Prosecutors said this week that the motion was filed because Aleksandras Lileikis, 88, who was lived for years in Norwood, Mass., has refused to answer government prosecutors’ questions about his wartime activities, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations.

Lileikis, who has acknowledged that he was the former head of Lithuanian security police – known as the Saugamas – in the Vilnius province, is accused of signing orders that sent at least 40,000 Jews to Nazi death camps.

A U.S. district judge ruled last month that Lileikis could not invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

“We remain absolutely committed to a speedy resolution of the charges against Mr. Lileikis,” said U.S. Attorney Donald Stern. “He should not be permitted to hide any longer behind a privilege which the court has now determined is inapplicable to him. By his outright refusal to answer the charges, we contend he has, in effect, admitted them.”

In September 1994, the United States sought to strip the accused Nazi of his citizenship, charging him with concealing his wartime activities. The United States wants to deport Lileikis to Lithuania.

Lileikis came to the United States in 1955 and sought citizenship in 1976.

At least 55,000 Vilnius Jews and 220,000 Lithuanian Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

In another development, Wasyl Lytwyn, an American citizen who admitted to having participated in the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, voluntarily deported himself to Ukraine, according to a release from the World Jewish Congress.

His flight from the United States, which had been agreed upon with the OSI, took place after he had signed an admission to having played a role in a number of war crimes.

Lytwyn, 73, will soon have his U.S. citizenship revoked.

After World War II, he fled to Canada, where he became a citizen in 1955. In 1957, he moved to the United States, where he was naturalized in 1994.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund