Lithuanian Nazi war criminals
Jerusalem - May-99 - The Simon Wiesenthal
Center urged Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus to use his influence to
ensure that Lithuanian Nazi war criminals who return to that country from
the United States will be prosecuted for their crimes during World War II.
In a letter sent by Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff in the wake of the
return to Lithuania this past weekend of Nazi murderer Kazys Ciurinskas, the
Center noted that none of the six Lithuanian Nazi collaborators who have
hereto returned to Lithuania after being stripped of their American
citizenship for concealing their wartime past have been prosecuted, and that
with the arrival of Ciuriniskas and an additional criminal named Vincas
Valkavickas who was due to arrive before the end of June it had become
"increasingly clear that Lithuania has become one of the leading havens for
Nazi collaborators seeking to escape justice."
In Zuroff’s words: "The prosecution of Nazi murderers
more than fifty years after their crimes were committed is hardly an easy
task. At the same time, I am certain you will agree that such crimes cannot
be ignored nor can their perpetrators be allowed to escape punishment simply
because they have eluded justice to date.
"Without your active intervention on this issue, I
fear that no action will be taken. Individuals who actively participated in
the brutal liquidation of Lithuanian Jewry, as well as of Jews outside
Lithuania, will continue to reside in your country undisturbed and
unpunished and Lithuania will suffer the inevitable consequences of this
morally reprehensible policy.
"All the expressions of sorrow about the Holocaust
and the efforts at reconciliation between Lithuanians and Jews ring hollow
in view of Lithuania’s total failure to prosecute those responsible for
these crimes. We therefore urge you to use your good offices to finally help
achieve at least a measure of justice in these cases, and thereby lay the
foundation for improved Lithuanian-Jewish relations in the future."
Kazy Ciurinskas served as an armed member of the 2nd
Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalion which participated in the murder of
tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania and Belarus. He was ordered deported
from the United States by U.S. immigration judge Anthony Petrone on April
Vincas Valkavickas, who served as an armed guard
during the massacre of more than 3,700 Jews near Svencionys, Lithuania, was
ordered removed from the United States to Lithuania by U.S. Immigration
Judge James Fujimuto on April 2, 1999.
Efraim Zuroff - Wiesenthal Center -
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