Trial Of Ex-Ohioan Accused Of Nazi Cooperation Under Way
March 5, 2002 at 9:22 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 8:06 AM
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Government attorneys seeking to deport a Lithuanian man accused of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II say he lied on immigration forms to gain entry into the United States.
But the defense attorney for Algimantas Dailide, 81, of St. Petersburg argued Monday that the documents prosecutors are basing their case on are possibly fakes and the group Dailide admits working for wasn't under the control of the Nazis.
Dailide is a retired real estate agent from Brecksville, a Cleveland suburb.
More than 50,000 Jews were killed during the war at Nazi-run execution pits in Paneriai, a Lithuanian campground near where Dailide worked.
From 1941 to 1944, lawyers for the department say, Dailide turned Jews over to occupying Nazi forces to be killed. In 1950, they said, Dailide lied on immigration forms to enter the United States, saying he was a forester and denying serving on police forces during the war.
The man in charge of the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, Eli Rosenbaum, said Dailide is not entitled to live in the United States.
"By arresting Jews whose only offense was escaping from certain death and turning them over for disposition by his Nazi superiors, Dailide played a key role in the mistreatment and murder of innocent Jewish civilians," Rosenbaum said after deportation proceedings began last year.
Defense attorney Joseph T. McGinniss spent most of the day arguing that Lithuania-related documents captured from Nazi files were possible fakes. He also questioned the validity of a report used by prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials.
He said Lithuanian police files, opened after the country broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991, could not prove the Lithuania police force Saugumas, for which Dailide volunteered, was run by the Nazis.
Dailide seemed confused throughout the proceedings and was having trouble hearing his attorney.
In past interviews, Dailide said his job was to arrest communist sympathizers after the Nazis gained control of Lithuania from Russia.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)