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Justice Department Unit Praised for Success in Deporting Trifa

August 16, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Eli Wiesel, chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, praised the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations for its year-long battle to deport Archbishop Valerian Trifa from the United States.

“Thousands of Rumanian Jews died during the Holocaust as a direct result of Trifa’s anti-Semitic incitements”in Rumania in 1941 when he led the fascist Rumanian Iron Guard in a pogram against Jews. “This successful action by our Department of Justice’s OSI signals once again that there is no room for such war criminals in our midst. I applaud our government for the expulsion of Trifa, “Wiesel said.

Trifa, who was ordered depoted from the U.S. in October, 1982, for his wartime crimes, left the U.S. Monday for Portugal. Stephen Trott, Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s criminal division, said yesterday, in announcing Trifa’s departure from the U.S. that this ended nine years of legal efforts by the OSI to deport him.


The American Jewish Committee also expressed gratification over Trifa’s expulsion. Leo Nevas, chairman of the AJCommittee’s International Relations Commission, said that “While the wheels of justice may at times turn slowly, the deportation of Trifa serves as an eloquent testimony of our country’s commitment not to forget the past and to act with perserverance in such cases.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles termed the OSI’s “perserverance” in the Trifa case “a fine example of the frustrating, arduous and expensive process of denaturalization and deportation which the OSI has been forced to follow in order to remove this criminal, and others like ?, from our society.” The Center expressed hope that this development “would also signal the stepped-up effort by United States officials to deal with the thousands of former Nazis still living in this country.”

The Center also applauded the efforts of Dr. Charles Kremer of New York, “who, as a private citizen of this country, but who is of Rumanian origin, has pursued the Trifa case for over two decades to ensure that the world never forgets its responsibilities to the victims of the Holocaust.”

In Lisbon, Portuguese officials said that Trifa, who had been the spiritual leader to about 35,000 members of the Rumanian American Orthodox Church in Grass Lake, Mich., had applied about a year ago for permission to live in retirement in Portugal as a stateless person. It was approved last December because, Portuguese officials claimed, there was no indication that he was a war criminal or that the U.S. had ordered him deported.

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