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ADL Asks U.S. Court to Take Suit Against Alleged War Criminal

June 21, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A United States District Court has been requested by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith to accept jurisdiction in a civil suit by five Holocaust survivors seeking damages against an alleged Nazi war criminal living in the U.S.

The case marks the first time a civil suit for damages has been brought in this country against an alleged Nazi war criminal, according to Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s associate national director. The court has scheduled a hearing on the suit July 9.

The ADL filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Califomia in support of the five Holocaust survivors from Yugoslavia against Andrija Artukovic, a former official of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia.

In their class action suit, the five–all of them were confined in concentration camps or lost relatioves during World War II — asked for unspecific damages from Artukovic, 80, who resides in Surfside, Calif. The five, now American citizens are Leo Handel, Leon and Shri Kabiljo and Isaac and Hanna Handy. They said they were filing the suit not only in their own behalf, but for “all other similarly situated persons.”


Artukovic, whose family is believed to have amased a fortune in this country, has since 1951 successfully resisted U.S. attempts to deport him based on falsification of his past when he entered the United States.

Artukovic is accused in the suit of being instrumental in creating and pursuing Croatia’s genocide directed against Serbs and Jews during the War. “As Minister of Interior, he masterminded the deportation, torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavs,” said Foxman. “It is estimated that 1.2 million persons were slain, the overwhelming majority of whom were Serbs.”

The ADL brief pointed out that Artukovic has evaded criminal prosecution and added: “May he also evade even the minimum accounting provided under U.S. law for his crimes — restitution to his victims.”

The U.S. District Court, the brief continued, has jurisdiction because the case is based on crimes against humanity. These are covered under international law to which this country is legally bound, the brief added.

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