An 86-year-old New York resident left the United States rather than answer questions about whether he helped oppress Jews in Lithuania during the Second World War, the Justice Department said yesterday.
Aloyzas Balsys departed permanently for Lithuania under an agreement with the Justice Department in which he acknowledged that he had misrepresented and concealed his wartime activities when he entered the United States in 1961, making his entry illegal.
Last June, the Supreme Court rejected Balsys's claim that the Fifth Amendment allowed him to remain silent because he might incriminate himself in Lithuania, Israel or Germany.
Balsys, a permanent resident alien, would not answer questions about wartime documents indicating that he was part of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police, or the Saugumas. The documents, found by historians in the department's Office of Special Investigations, show that Balsys was chief of a precinct office in Vilnius from at least November 1941 to 1943.
The Saugumas assisted Nazi occupiers "in enforcing persecutory measures against Jews," the department said. Activities included arresting Jews found outside barbed-wire enclosed ghettos and people who tried to aid Jews.
The arrested Jews were turned over to Nazi authorities and most of them were executed at Paneriai, a wooded area near Vilnius, the capital city. Nearly 55,000 of Vilnius's 60,000 Jews perished at Paneriai during Nazi occupation.
Eli Rosenbaum, an OSI official, said Balsys's service with the Saugumas during fall 1941 was significant because a large number of liquidation actions against Jews occurred during that time.
Balsys, who never became an American citizen, entered the United States from England without disclosing his service with the security police or his residence in Vilnius.
Three other members of the Vilnius Saugumas have left the United States for Lithuania following OSI investigations or legal proceedings. They were:
Adolph Milius, who left in 1997 after proceedings were initiated to strip him of citizenship. He was denaturalized in 1998.
Aleksandras Lileikis, the former chief of the Saugumas who left in 1996 after denaturalization. The judge who revoked his citizenship said "tens of thousands died under his command."
Kazys Gimzaukskas, who was Lileikis's deputy and left in 1994 while under investigation. His citizenship was revoked in 1996.