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Nazi Editor, One-time Professor at Yale, Seeks Asylum in Canada

January 20, 1989
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A former lecturer at Yale University, who edited a Nazi magazine in the Soviet Union during World War II and who disappeared before his U.S. deportation hearing, has surfaced in Montreal. He has asked for Canadian refugee status.

Vladimir Sokolov, 74, edited and wrote for “Rech,” a Russian-language Nazi newspaper published in his native Orel, Russia, during 1942 and 1943.

American courts found that the anti-Semitic articles and columns that appeared under his name were “vicious” and contributed to the persecution of Jews, as well as “world domination by Nazis.”

Sokolov wrote under the name V.I. Samarin, which was his father’s listed last name.

However Sokolov lived and worked in the United States under the name Vladimir Sokolov, his wife’s last name, which he used upon entering the United States in 1951.

At that time he failed to reveal his wartime activities.

Sokolov — as Samarin — was decorated by the German army for his writings. He retreated with the Germans when the Russian army recaptured Orel.

While living in Milford, Conn., Sokolov was a member of Yale’s department of Slavic languages from 1959 to 1976. The Yale Alumni Journal wrote that he “chose to resign and seek early retirement.”

The case against Sokolov began with an article in Sovietische Heimland, the Yiddish-language monthly published in Moscow.

It was discovered by a Yale librarian, Sid Resnick, who did translations for the Morning Freiheit, a Yiddish newspaper.


Sokolov was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1986. Court papers refer to him as Sokolov, a.k.a. Sokolov-Samarin a.k.a. Samarin.

The Canadian Jewish Congress is attempting to intervene in the case. “Canada must not be used as a safe haven for Nazi collaborators fleeing United States justice,” said CJC National Executive Director Jack Silverstone.

Silverstone, who served as CJC’s associate counsel before the Deschenes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, said, “We regard this as an abuse of the refugee process. Having fled from an American judicial process, we hope Canadian authorities will take prompt action to have Mr. Sokolov sent back to the United States.”

In Washington, Neal Sher, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, refused to comment on the case, except to say that a person who is stripped of U.S. citizenship is “automatically put on the ‘watch list.’ He is on the ‘watch list’ along with Mr. (Kurt) Waldheim.”

Sources close to the investigation indicated that OSI was “not surprised” that Sokolov was in Canada, had known for some time and had been coordinating with Canadian officials on the case.

Sokolov was the first of about 25 alleged Nazi collaborators to face civil proceedings brought by OSI, which was formed in 1979 to track down Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

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