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ALLEGED NAZI WAR CRIMINALS
FRIDAY, JULY 21, 1978
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joshua Eilberg (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Eilberg and Hall.
Also present: Garner J. Cline and Arthur P. Endres, Jr., counsel; Raymond P. D'Uva, assistant counsel; Peter Regis, legislative assistant; Alexander B. Cook, associate counsel.
Mr. ÉILBERG. The subcommittee will begin its hearing.
We welcome Mr. Sam Zutty, former Chief Investigator of the New York Project Control office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Before receiving your testimony, Mr. Zutty I would like to make a brief statement.
Today, the subcommittee holds its third day in this series of hearings on the subject of alleged Nazi war criminals.
The testimony which we have received thus far has, in some cases, been quite forthcoming and will be helpful to this subcommittee's investigation into this matter.
On the other hand, other witnesses seemed to be somewhat less than candid in their testimony and in answering the subcommittee's questions.
Today, we will hear from two former INS employees who were closely involved in alleged Nazi war criminal cases, Mr. Sam Zutty, who headed the INS Project Control Office, established in New York City in 1973, and Mr. Vincent Schiano, former INS chief trial attorney, a well-known attorney who has worked extensively in this area.
We also will be hearing from Mr. Mario de Capua, presently a Foreign Service officer on duty in Washington, who prior to his joining the State Department was Chief of Security and Investigations of the Displaced Persons Commission from 1948 until 1952.
Again, I would state that it is my hope that these witnesses be completely candid in the giving of their testimony here today, as well as responsive to questions put to them by Members of the subcommittee.
I would also again remind the witnesses that pursuant to House rules they refrain from the use of specific case names in discussing these cases.
Mr. Zutty, would you rise, please?
Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. ZUTTY. I do.
TESTIMONY OF MR. SAM ZUTTY, FORMER OFFICER IN CHARGE
OF PROJECT CONTROL UNIT, NEW YORK DISTRICT OFFICE, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
Mr. EILBERG. Do you have a prepared statement you wish to submit?
Mr. ZUTTY. I do not.
I think you are familiar with what we are trying to do here, and perhaps you would like to make a few general remarks before we ask questions.
Mr. ZUTTY. All right.
With the extradition by the West German Government of Mrs. Ryan, the Immigration Service set up a project control unit in New York to complete the investigation of alleged Nazi war criminals. With the publicity that was caused by the extradition of Mrs. Ryan, the Service felt it should have a centralized organization to handle all allegations and all cases involving reports of Nazi war criminals in the United States.
With that in mind they set up this group in New York. I was allowed to choose whoever I wanted to help me. I was given a mandate by the Service. I specifically asked for as to the extent of my authority? What I was supposed to be looking for and what drawbacks, if any, I should be concerned with.
I was given assurance by the highest authorities in the Service to spare no expenses, no efforts, to bring once and for all the investigation of Nazi war criminals in the United States to a head.
With this in mind, for the next 4 years I devoted my full time and energy to this project. In July 1973, when the project started prior to my mandatory retirement in December of this past year, 1977, that was my function.
And with that in mind I feel that of all of the witnesses that you have had before you, I think I have a far greater background into the individual cases and what happened.
It is quite true I know nothing of what happened as far as the investigations prior to 1973, but, by reading the files and discussions and seeing the complete pictures that unfolded, I am fairly well knowledgeable as to what happened prior to and, of course, subsequent, as I was there and conducted the complete investigation, the interviews. I went to Israel on behalf of the Government, spoke to Israeli officials, and feel quite competent to answer any questions which the committee cares to pose.
Mr. EILBERG. Thank you very much, Mr. Zutty.
As you know, this subcommittee has been working with this project since before your project office was formed. As a matter of fact, I think it was formed in part, as a result of our searching inquiries.
What manpower was assigned to your office?
Mr. ZUTTY. Prior to De Vito's retirement, he had one case, the Ryan case. Then he was assigned one other case, it was during this period of time he felt it necessary to resign for whatever reasons he had in mind.
At this time there was a list of some 70 names which DeVito had been given by Dr. Oscar Karbach of the World Jewish Congress and, with this as our nucleus, these 70 cases were then given to me to start the project involving the investigation of Nazi war criminals. I requested two men to initially help me, which was approved and with that we started our project.
Mr. EILBERG. What limitations, if any, were imposed upon you by the central office?
Mr. ZUTTY. On the contrary, there were no limitations. The only limitations were the standard investigative techniques that we all use. I had been an investigator, of course, prior to this project for over 20 years, so I knew the process.
I asked for a written statement from higher authorities as to what extent I should conduct the investigations. Should, for example, age be a criterion, because some of these people were over 80 years old, and the answer came back from higher authorities that the age, the physical condition, the background of any individual should not be a deterrent to their investigation.
In other words, I was to conduct the investigation and find any available evidence to determine whether we had sufficient grounds to proceed against them or not. That was my mandate.
Mr. EILBERG. Were you and your staff working full time on Nazi investigations? Mr. ZUTTY. Yes. I did this solely. There was no other duties.
Mr. EILBERG. You had no other outside employment activities during this time? Mr. ZUTTY. None at all.
Mr. EILBERG. Can you tell us how many hours of overtime you worked when you were associated with the Project Control Office?
Mr. ZUTTY. The normal hours were 40 hours a week, plus overtime. I would say roughly in the vicinity of 48 to 50 hours a week, plus on certain occasions we even worked longer.
Mr. EILBERG. Did the New York District Director or the central office prevent you in any way from working overtime on the Nazi project?
Mr. ZUTTY. No, on the contrary. I was given assurance at various times even as far as the Commissioner himself, who said that at any time if we needed more personnel, more individuals to help, to not hesitate and ask for them.
Mr. EILBERG. Can you describe the condition of the Nazi war criminal files that you took over?
Mr. ZUTTY. Yes; I would like to do that. In any normal case, the first thing we do is to obtain the relating file, which we, of course, did in each and every case. I might comment, if I might get off the subject, I have heard for 4 years allegations and innuendos of missing files, and taking stuff out of the files and various things like this. Now to my knowledge, and I can only speak from what I saw, the one case in which a "cause celebre” was made, about missing files and that was in Detroit, I would like to present to the committee my interpretation of what happened and to my knowledge the thrust of this.
Mr. EILBERG. Go ahead.
Mr. ZUTTY. I am not writing books, I am not involved with any other ulterior motives, I just want to tell you exactly what happened, and I won't mention the name because this individual is now under proceedings.
This individual arrived in the United States, I think in 1949 or 1959, or thereabouts. On his visa he was destined to Detroit. Now, normal procedure is that a file goes to the place where the individual was destined, therefore, the file of this individual was sent to Detroit, as normally is done.
When investigation was commenced on this individual in 1966 by the Immigration Service, long before the project was set up or long before the committee was even aware of the Nazi war criminal problem, there was an investigation conducted by an investigator in New York, who had sent for the file and conducted a full and comprehensive investigation on this individual.
I might add there were also statements and innuendos that I heard for 4 years of material being taken out of that file, and there were documents, ordering the case to be closed. Now, as far as what I have been able to see by looking at the file and discussing it with everybody involved, including the investigator who handled the case, there was an investigation commenced in 1966 by the Immigration Service concerning this individual.
There were about 60 some odd witnesses interviewed as a result of this investigation, and in every case with negative results. No one could identify this individual as having been involved in committing atrocities.
Now, for whatever reason, there was a memorandum sent up by the central office signed by Wilbur Flagg which, he stated, there were only five more additional individuals to be interviewed out West someplace.
For whatever reason, they decided we have interviewed 60 witnesses with negative results, let's not keep knocking our heads against a wooden wall and, keep interviewing witnesses so therefore, they just ceased the investigation.
I do not believe there was any ulterior motive or conspiracy or anything else involved why the case was closed, but you have to look at these things in the context of time. You cannot look at something today and what happened 10 years ago and try to correlate it. It's different.
Ten years ago, 15 years ago, when the problem of Nazi war criminals came up, it was a different set of circumstances.
I might point out to the committee, which I feel to be important, up until the time I left we had allegations of close to 200 cases. Not all of them strong allegations, I want you to be aware of. They were just allegations, a man who had a crew cut haircut and walked a police dog, was alleged to be a Nazi war criminal. Of the 200 allegations, I would say about 100 were legitimate allegations with some substance.