Department's 27 Nazi-hunters stalk 250
WASHINGTON (AP) - The
U.S. government's Nazi-hunters are a band
of 27 lawyers, historians and aides
stalking more than 250 elderly men in this
country who are suspected of engaging in
Nazi persecution during World War II.
Their Office of Special Investigations
was created in September 1979 by Attorney
General Benjamin Civiletti to
enforce 1978 legislation that barred Nazi
persecutors from entering the United
States and made them deportable if they
were already here.
Under the office's fourth and current
director, Eli M. Rosenbaum, 10
attorneys, eight historians, five
paralegals, three secretaries and one
translator are working on cases filed
against 17 individuals.
These cases are in various stages, from
initial efforts to revoke citizenship
because a Nazi past was concealed when the
defendant entered the country and became a
U.S. citizen, to deportation proceedings,
to appeals through the Board of
Immigration Appeals and the federal
More than 250 others are under active
Since 1979, 61 Nazi persecutors have
been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 49
of them have been ousted from the United
The office also maintains a "watchlist"
for U.S. immigration officers to use at
air, land and seaports to deny entry to
Nazi persecutors. That list contains more
than 100,000 names, including those of
about two dozen Japanese soldiers accused
of war crimes during World War II.
Among those on
the watchlist is former U.N. Secretary
General and Austrian chief of state
Kurt Waldheim, whose activities
in support of the Nazis were detailed
in a special 1987 report by the office.
It also issued a special report in 1992
confirming the death in South America
of Dr. Josef Mengele, the
dentist who conducted gruesome medical
experiments on prisoners at the
Auschwitz death camp.
The office's historians, many of whom
hold doctorates, all speak German and at
least one other foreign language, such as
Polish, Russian, Lithuanian or another
They work with captured Nazi documents
in the U.S. Archives and in Russia,
Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland. Nearly all
the Nazi SS documents were captured and
are available to them at the Berlin
Document Center in Germany.
Once suspects are identified, the
office seeks witnesses to their crimes by
advertising in Jewish publications or
among Holocaust survivor
1999 Associated Press.