The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 30, 2013

AP IMPACT: US limbo for Nazi suspects ordered out

(Continued)

The case of Johann Leprich fell into that category. Authorities said Leprich, of Clinton Township, Michigan, served as an armed guard at a Nazi camp in Austria during World War II. He was 78 when he was ordered deported in 2003. Germany, Hungary and Leprich's native Romania — which passed a law in 2002 barring the entry of war crimes suspects — all refused to accept him. A technical issue related to Leprich's deportation order allowed him to remain eligible for public benefits until he died in 2013, although for unclear reasons he stopped receiving them long before that.

According to AP's analysis of DOJ records, five other Nazi suspects were ordered deported but remained in the U.S. until they died because no country was willing to take them:

—Osyp Firishchak, 93, of Chicago, died last November, nine months after exhausting appeals. A U.S. judge concluded that Firishchak had lied when he said he was not a member of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, which helped Nazis arrest Jews in large numbers and sent them to labor and death camps. He was born in territory that was then Czechoslovakia and is now part of the Ukraine. He was ordered deported to Ukraine in 2007.

—Anton Tittjung, of Wisconsin, died last year at age 87. Born in a part of the former Yugoslavia that is now Croatia, he was accused of being an armed guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and was ordered deported to Croatia in 1994. He said he was not a Nazi. He exhausted his appeals in 2001 but remained in the U.S. because Croatia would not accept him, saying he was neither born there nor a citizen of Croatia, according to a DOJ report. The U.S. also asked Austria and Germany to accept him; both refused.

—Mykola Wasylyk spent most of his American years in the Catskills region, 90 miles north of New York City, and died in North Port, Florida, in 2010 at age 86. He exhausted his appeals in 2004. He was born in former Polish territory that is now part of Ukraine. Prosecutors say he was an armed guard at two forced labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland, but he claimed he was unaware that prisoners there were persecuted. The United States ordered him deported to Ukraine. At Wasylyk's request, the DOJ amended the order to seek to deport him first to Switzerland. Neither country took him in.

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