An immigration judge has ordered a 91-year-old retired factory worker deported to his native Lithuania because he lied about his part in the Nazi destruction of Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto in 1943, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
“Vladas Zajanckauskas was an accomplice in Nazi mass murder,” said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. “Had he told the truth after the war, he never would have been permitted to enter this country.”
Zajanckauskas’ lawyer, Thomas Butters, did not immediately return a call Thursday and a personal phone number for Zajanckauskas could not be located.
Immigration Judge Wayne R. Iskra’s order, issued Aug. 2 and delivered to the Justice Department on Tuesday, ended an appeal, but the department said Zajanckauskas hasn’t yet left the country. The order comes more than two years after a federal judge revoked his U.S. citizenship.
Zajanckauskas, of Sutton, 40 miles west of Boston, denied he was in Warsaw at the time and said his service was limited to working the bar at the Nazi training camp in Trawniki, Poland.
Nazis killed thousands in ghetto
Federal prosecutors said he was recruited into a Nazi-trained guard unit called “Trawniki men” and was on a roster of guard unit members whom the Nazi SS deployed to help capture Jews in the Warsaw ghetto to be removed to death camps.
The judge noted that Zajanckauskas admitted that Trawniki men guarded Jews and prevented their escape when they were being rounded up in the ghetto. Trawniki men also conducted house-to-house searches for hidden Jews, fought resistance fighters and took part in the shooting of some captured Jews, the judge said.
The Nazis killed thousands and burned down the ghetto, street by street, after the Jews resisted attempts to deport them to death camps.
Zajanckauskas was a member of the Lithuanian army, then the Soviet army when that country annexed Lithuania in 1940. He became a German prisoner of war a year later before being recruited for German service in 1942.
He received Nazi ideological instructions with other members of the Trawniki unit and got benefits, including home leave, according to the court ruling.
Zajanckauskas emigrated from Austria in 1950 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1956. Zajanckauskas said he never told immigration officials about his Trawniki service because it would jeopardize his chances of getting into the United States.
Family remain citizens
He has a wife, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are all U.S. citizens. His ailing wife had indicated in court that she was not sure whether she would accompany her husband back to Lithuania — where they have no close relatives who could help them cope with life there and maintain treatment regimes for their numerous health problems, according to court documents.
The judge declined to let those factors become grounds for letting Zajanckauskas remain in the country.