The Justice Department is trying to deport an 87-year-old Lithuanian accused of complicity in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews during World War II.
One longtime Nazi-hunter compares Aleksandras Lileikis to Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief in Lyon, France, who was convicted in 1987 of crimes against humanity.The government filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday saying that Lileikis, as head of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police for Vilnius, was a major figure in the destruction of Jews in the city that was a major center of Jewish life before World War II.
Lileikis was "a senior-level perpetrator of the Holocaust," said Eli Rosenbaum, acting director of the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations. Lileikis is the first senior Lithuanian police official prosecuted in connection with Nazi crimes, Rosenbaum said.
The retired publishing company employee slammed the door on reporters at his Norwood home after repeatedly saying, "No comment."
Lileikis has 30 days to respond to the claim that he concealed his past when he applied for immigration to the United States in 1955 and for citizenship in 1976. No court date has been set. If the court revokes his citizenship, deportation proceedings would begin.
U.S. citizenship has been taken away from 50 people accused of participating in Nazi persecution, and 42 have been deported.
"The best evidence against Mr. Lileikis is his own signature on one after another captured Nazi document," Rosenbaum said.
The documents detail the names of Jews and the dates they were either executed or deported to concentration camps. They were made available to U.S. investigators by the Lithuanian government after the fall of the Soviet Union.
An estimated 40,000 Jews were shot to death in Vilnius during the three-year Nazi occupation. At least 55,000 of the city's 60,000 Jewish residents were killed or sent to concentration camps, the suit says.