updated 8/31/2009 12:24:42 PM ET 2009-08-31T16:24:42

An 88-year-old former naturalized American citizen accused of helping the Nazis and killing Jews during World War II faces deportation after the Justice Department filed court papers seeking to throw him out of the country.

U.S. officials have not said to which country they want to send John Kalymon, but Poland is investigating the role of police in the deaths of Jews in neighboring Ukraine, Kalymon's homeland.

U.S. authorities say Kalymon, once known as Iwan Kalymon, shot Jews while serving in the Nazi-sponsored Ukrainian Auxiliary Police Force in what is now the city of Lviv, which until 1939 was part of Poland.

The retired auto engineer has been under investigation for years, and in June insisted he did nothing wrong, saying: "I don't feel guilty."

Kalymon's lawyer, Elias Xenos, has argued Kalymon guarded coal from looters. The lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment Monday on the government's decision to seek deportation.

Feared being sent to Soviet Union
Kalymon lives in Troy, Michigan, and came to the United States in 1949. He said he lied about his police work because he feared being sent to the Soviet Union. He became a naturalized citizen in 1955 and went on to work at Chrysler.

The U.S. government became aware of Kalymon after the Soviet Union evaporated in 1991. World War II-era archives that had been inaccessible revealed people who may have concealed their Axis allegiance when they entered the United States decades ago.

In 2007, after a civil trial, a federal judge in Detroit, Michigan, stripped Kalymon of his citizenship, saying his two years in the Ukrainian police resulted in the persecution of civilians.

The government produced a handwritten document in which "Iv Kalymun" reported firing four shots, killing one Jew and injuring another. Kalymon admits he spelled his last name both ways when he was a young man but says he did not go by "Kalymun" when he was a Ukrainian officer. He denied shooting Jews and claimed the record was a forgery.

Authorities say the actions were part of an operation to remove 40,000 Jews from the Lviv Ghetto in August 1942.

"With the active assistance of collaborators like John Kalymon, the Nazis annihilated some 100,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children in Lviv," said Eli Rosenbaum, who leads the Justice Department's effort to find and deport former Nazis and their helpers. "Participants in such crimes have forfeited any right to enjoy the precious privilege of U.S. citizenship or to continue residing in the United States."

In May, U.S. authorities deported John Demjanjuk from Cleveland, Ohio, sending him to Germany to face trial as an accused accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp.

That same month, the Justice Department disclosed that Poland's Commission for Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation wanted U.S. prosecutors to interview Kalymon.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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