The United States has a Nazi disposal problem.
While the U.S. Justice Department has found 137 accused Nazi war criminals living in the country, the department cannot seem to do much about it. In fact, according to an eye-opening Associated Press report published yesterday, four known perpetrators of Nazi atrocities live scot-free in the United States today.
Those four are among the 10 who ended up in a sort of limbo after no other country would take them in, despite the United States' attempts to get rid of them. AP identified the not-so-fab four as Vladas Zajanckauskas of Sutton, Mass., Theodor Szehinskyj of West Chester, Pa., Jakiw Palij of N.Y., and John Kalymon of Troy, Mich.
Szehinskyj and Palij, both 89 years old, are accused of serving as armed guards at Nazi concentration camps. Kalymon, 92, was a member of a Polish police unit that rounded up and shot Jews on orders from the Nazis, according to prosecutors. Zajanckauskas, 97, is said to have taken part in the mass murder of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. All four deny participating in war crimes. All have been stripped of their citizenship and are under deportation orders.
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In many cases the appeals process for accused Nazis takes years, during which time they are eligible to receive public benefits such as Social Security and Medicare. But according to one leading Nazi hunter, there is not much anyone can do about it.
"I don't think it's any lack of effort by the American government,” said Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Institute, an organization devoted to tracking down ex-Nazis in hiding.
The German government, while espousing a policy of prosecuting Nazi criminals without regard to age or health conditions, has been hesitant to take in accused war criminals who were not German citizens. Many alleged war criminals were collaborators from various eastern European countries.