CRM (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

FEDERAL COURT REVOKES U.S. CITIZENSHIP OF FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD WHO FLED COUNTRY WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced today that a federal judge in Chicago has revoked the U.S. citizenship of Wiatscheslaw (Chester) Rydlinskis of Bloomingdale, Illinois, a former armed SS guard and dog handler in Nazi concentration camps. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Hart entered the default judgment of denaturalization today after Rydlinskis, 71, a retired draftsman, failed to answer a complaint filed in December by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago. Papers recently filed by the government revealed that Rydlinskis had fled from the United States to Germany late last year after being officially informed that the complaint was to be filed. The complaint alleged that Rydlinskis joined the Waffen-SS in 1941 and served as an armed guard and dog handler in the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (SS Death's Head Battalion) from 1941 to 1945 at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany and at Buchenwald's Laura subcamp. As a member of the SS Death's Head Battalion at Laura, the complaint charged, the defendant also guarded the camp's inmates to prevent their escape as they were evacuated in cattle cars and by forced march from the camp toward Dachau concentration camp in late March 1945. Many prisoners died during the evacuation due to harsh conditions, lack of adequate food and water, and mistreatment by guards. Numerous inmates were shot by SS guards when they could no longer continue to march. The complaint said Rydlinskis' service as an armed guard and dog handler in the Waffen-SS at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Laura, and his participation in the evacuation of Laura inmates to Dachau constituted assistance in the Nazi program of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion and national origin. Following the end of World War II, the complaint said, Rydlinskis concealed his service as an armed SS guard at Auschwitz and Buchenwald from U.S. government officials at the following times: In 1956, when he successfully entered the United States from Bremen, Germany, under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953; and In 1966, when he successfully applied for naturalized U.S. citizenship. Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of OSI, said revocation of Rydlinskis' citizenship resulted from the Department's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former

participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. With this case, 51 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship as a result of OSI's investigations and prosecutions, and 43 such persons have been removed from the United States, he said. # # # 95-406