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Effort to Reverse Deportation Order Against Trifa Fails

April 4, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A suit filed against the federal government to reverse the deportation order against Archbishop Valerian Trifa of the Rumanian Orthodox Church in the United States, was summarily dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Horace Gilmore here.

The suit was filed last month by eight members of the church. Their argument that the deportation of Trifa would mean the “virtual destruction” of the church and deprive its 35,000 members of the right to practice their religion, was described by Gilmore as “frivolous.”

An eight-year investigation of Trifa’s past by the Department of Justice and other government agencies determined that he had gained admission to the U.S. and obtained U.S. citizenship by concealing his Nazi activities when he was a leader of the anti-Semitic Iron Guard in Rumania during World War II.

Trifa was held directly responsible for a pogrom in Bucharest in 1941 in which hundreds of Jews and anti-fascists were murdered. As the evidence against him mounted, he agreed last October to voluntary deportation. However, his applications to emigrate to Switzerland, Italy and West Germany were rejected by the authorities in those countries, according to Neal Sher, acting director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Judge Gilmore, in announcing his ruling, noted that the 69-year-old cleric “has admitted membership in the Iron Guard in Bucharest and the Movement of the Archangel Michael … He admitted to fraud and misrepresentation in statements seeking U.S. citizenship in 1957,” Gilmore said.

The attorney for the church members, Elliott Hall, said he would appeal the decision.

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