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Osi Happy with Supreme Court’s Ruling on Ex-nazi’s Citizenship

May 6, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Neal Sher, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, expressed satisfaction Thursday on a Supreme Court decision ordering a new hearing on whether an alleged Nazi war criminal should have his U.S. citizenship revoked.

He said the ruling would be helpful to the government’s efforts in prosecuting Nazi war criminals in the United States.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-to-2 decision Monday, set aside a 1986 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that revoked the citizenship of Juozas Kungys, who was accused of helping the Nazis kill more than 2,000 Jews in Lithuania during World War II. They ordered the appeals court to hold a new hearing.

The OSI, which is charged with finding and prosecuting Nazi war criminals living in the United States, is still studying the decision, but Sher said the OSI is “pleased with the ruling” because the court set down clear standards for revoking citizenship.

“The decision by and large supports the positions” taken by the OSI in seeking the revocation of citizenship, that “someone who gives false testimony lacks the necessary good moral character to become a U.S. citizen,” Sher said.

The standards for revoking citizenship, outlined in the court’s opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, approved denaturalization of someone whose misstatements or concealment of facts “had a natural tendency” to influence decisions by immigration officials.

Kungys, a 71-year-old Clifton, N.J. retired dental technician, entered the United States in 1948 and became a citizen in 1954.

The government charged that after Nazi troops invaded Lithuania in 1941, Kungys led an armed group of men which forced the 3,000 Jews in the town of Kedainiai from their homes and confiscated their property.

Later that year, Kungys organized, led and participated in the killing of more than 2,000 Jewish men, women and children, who were forced to undress and walk into ditches near Kedainiai, and then were shot.

In a dissenting opinion, Justices Byron White and Sandra Day O’Connor said they would uphold the appellate court ruling that Kungys made “material misrepresentations” when applying for entry into the United States and then later in his application for citizenship.

Kungys’s lawyers argued that his alleged misrepresentation of his age and place of birth should not be grounds for losing his citizenship.

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