The Justice Department has begun proceedings to revoke the citizenship of a New Jersey man charged with wartime crimes that include the killing of several concentration camp prisoners and the supervision of other killings.
The government charges that Sergis Hutyrczyk of Somerset, N.J., was a member of the auxiliary police in Baranowicze, Byelorussia, and that he was an armed guard at the Koldyczewo concentration camp during World War II.
Hutyrczyk is said to have been known as the “black commander” in the concentration camp.
The government complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. district court in Newark, alleges that from about January 1942 to May 1945, Hutyrczyk served in the Byelorussian Schutzmannschaft, a local police force controlled by the Nazis.
The complaint, filed by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. district attorney, also charges that Hutyrczyk actively participated in killing Jews in and around Baranowicze, and that he assisted in persecuting civilians on the basis of race, religion, political opinion or national origin.
Some 600 Jews, Poles and Byelorussians were burned alive in the crematorium of Koldyczewo in 1942, according to “Holocaust,” a book written by historian Martin Gilbert. The government has not stated whether Hutyrczyk participated in this.
Hutyrczyk, 66, a retired factory worker, is a native of Utas, Byelorussia, near Baranowicze. He came to the United States in 1954 from France and obtained citizenship in 1961.
‘POSTWAR LIES’ ALLEGED
“Hutyrczyk concealed and misrepresented his wartime activities from immigration and naturalization authorities,” Neal Sher, director of OSI, said in a statement from Washington.
“Because of his wartime activities and postwar lies, Hutyrczyk’s citizenship must be revoked,” said Sher.
Hutyrczyk, reached by telephone, said he did not know what the Schutzmannschaft was and denied he had been a guard.
He admitted having been at the Koldyczewo camp, but described it as a military training camp. He said he had been in a “self-defense unit,” the First Unit, 13th Battalion, which was “fighting the Communists.”
“In 1942, it was not a (concentration) camp,” he said, and denied seeing any killings.
He said recruits stayed there for two or three weeks. But he said he had been there from about July or August to October or November 1942. Hutyrczyk said he fought “in the front line” near Gdansk from June 1944 to March 1945.
He suggested that the Justice Department had made a mistake and thought it had confused him with his cousin, Steve Hutyrczyk, who was in the same battalion.
An OSI official replied, “Mr. Hutyrczyk’s position has been known to us for quite some time. No mistake has been made.”
This is the second time in a week that OSI has begun denaturalization proceedings against an American citizen charged with wartime crimes Last week, it moved to revoke the citizenship of Martin Zultner, who served in the Waffen SS at three subcamps of Mauthausen, in Austria.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.