NEW YORK, Sept. 16 (JTA) – The U.S. Department of
Justice has won a deportation order against an Illinois man accused of
participating in a Nazi-sponsored mobile killing unit during World War II. U.S. Immigration Judge O. John Brahos in Chicago found that Juozas Naujalis, 77, was a member of the 2nd Lithuanian Battalion that murdered thousands of civilians, predominantly Jews, in both Lithuania and neighboring Belarus. In hearings on the case held earlier this year, former battalion members recounted how they forcibly assembled the victims and drove them to wooded areas, where they shot them. During the month of October 1941 alone, battalion members massacred thousands of civilians in Belarus. The court found that Naujalis, a former machinist, lied about his wartime activities when he immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1949. He never applied for citizenship. Whether Lithuania will prosecute Naujalis is unknown. Tensions erupted in Lithuania this week when Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania, Oded Ben Hur, criticized the Baltic nation’s failure to prosecute alleged war criminals. After declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Lithuania issued certificates of exoneration to more than 50,000 Lithuanians who were convicted as war criminals by Soviet courts. Holocaust survivors, American Jewish leaders and the Lithuanian Jewish community have protested this practice of rehabilitation and called upon the Lithuanian government to reverse the pardons. In June, Kazys Ciurinskas, an Indiana man who was a member of the same battalion, also had his citizenship revoked.