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U.S. Official Says It Takes 8 Years to Complete Case Against Alleged Nazi-criminal Who is Citizen

June 3, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Justice Department official said Sunday that it would take a minimum of eight years to complete a case against an alleged Nazi war criminal who became an American citizen by falsifying his past activities.

“If we file on airtight case against a naturalized American citizen tomorrow and there are no judicial delays, it would still take eight years to complete a case,” declared Allan A. Ryan Jr., director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI). He observed that with an annual budget of $2.3 million and a staff of some 50 people, OSI has “the tools we need right now to do the job” of investigating over 350 files and prosecuting where applicable.

Ryan addressed some 300 leaders of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith at a luncheon session of the agency’s National Commission where Anthony DeVito, a former immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigator was presented with the ADL’s “Pursuer of Justice Award.” It was conferred in recognition of his “extraordinary valor, dedication and self-sacrifice in apprehending Nazi war criminals living in this country.”

Ryan explained that Nazi war criminals currently in the U.S. came here under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948-51, when the DP administration was “not able to thoroughly investigate and certify each and every immigrant refugee” to verity whether they had been Nazi criminals or collaborators. Replying to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the OSI chief said he did not want to comment on the use of alleged Nazi war criminals by the FBI, CIA or other U.S. intelligence agencies. The agencies admitted such utilization to the General Accounting Office GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, in 1978.


Although more than half of the 16 cases that OSI has under litigation have been implicated during their hearings with involvement with U.S. intelligence agencies, Ryan said “I’m not sure of the full scope of the allegations and until I know all the answers, I won’t discuss it.”

DeVito, who was honored today, opted for early retirement from the INS after accusing that agency of irregularities in prosecuting alleged Nazi war criminals. The award was presented to him by John L. Goldwater, an ADL national commissioner, who hailed his role in the case of Hermine Braunstziner Ryan, a former Queens housewife who was deprived of her U.S. citizenship and extradited to West Germany several years ago for withholding information about her activities as a guard in the notorious Maidanek concentration camp during World War II. No Nazi war criminal has ever been deported from the U.S.

In an interview later about the ADL’s role in the Ryan and other war criminal cases, Abraham Foxman, associate national director, said the ADL had provided background and testimony for the Ryan case and tried to find eye-witnesses. He said “In terms of fact-finding, ADL’s involvement goes way back” although its full-time specialist, Elliott Welles, has been on the staff for only three years.

Foxman noted that the ADL has been involved in fact-finding since 1949 when extradition deportation proceedings began against Andrija Artukovic, who was Minister of Interior in Nazi occupied Croatia during the war and still lives in California.

Foxman, who was born in Poland and is a Holocaust survivor, said that whatever material the ADL gathers at present “is put into the hands of the most capable agency that will use it, the OSI.”

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