MOSCOW (Mar. 1)
Lithuania is pressing charges against a second man alleged to have participated in the murder of Jews during World War II.
Kazys Gimzauskas, 89, is suspected of giving orders to arrest, imprison and execute Jews while he was deputy chief of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian secret police, known as the Saugumas, from 1941 to 1944.
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has already sent to court the case of his wartime boss, who was in charge of the security police.
The trial of Aleksandras Lileikis, 90, was slated to open in a court in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius this week.
Both, Lileikis and Gimzauskas deny the charges. Gimzauskas said he and his former boss were “Lithuanian patriots” who belonged to the anti-Nazi resistance.
“Of course, I participated [in the underground], and this is no secret,” Gimzauskas said in an interview last week.
He added that he has submitted to the authorities documents proving his anti- Nazi activities — as well as names of witnesses who could testify on his behalf.
The bedridden Gimzauskas said he would not be able to attend his own trial.
A court date for his trial has not been set.
Germany occupied Lithuania from 1941 to 1944, during which time approximately 94 percent of Lithuania’s prewar Jewish community of 240,000 died in the Holocaust. The Baltic country is now home to some 5,000 Jews.
Most historians say ordinary Lithuanians helped with the killings.
Gimzauskas moved to the United States in 1956 and lived in St. Petersburg, Fla. He returned to Lithuania in 1993, while he was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special investigations.
In 1996, he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship for lying about his wartime past on his immigration application.
Besides Gimzauskas and Lileikis, there are at least three more Lithuanians living in their homeland who have been stripped of their American citizenship.
Meanwhile, Lithuania’s new president called in his inaugural address last week for “tolerance for ethnic minorities and different religions.”
Valdas Adamkus, 71, a longtime resident of the United States, left the Baltic country for Germany in 1944. After he was elected in January, reports surfaced in the Russian press that Adamkus fought for the Nazis during World War II.
Adamkus, a Chicago resident from 1949 to 1997, denies the accusations.