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Only two cases to my knowledge of these 200 cases involved Germans or of German ethnic background. The 99.per percent were Ukraine, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and so forth. I heard yesterday at the hearings a question, I might clear up for the committee. How these people came into the United States?
Now, if you like, I can expound on that because I have done a lot of research into it and spoken to many various sources.
Mr. EILBERG. Go ahead.
Mr. ZUTTY. The Germans involved in the genocide of the Jews and other nationalities were very clever. They did not do the dirty work themselves; they used the Lithuanians, the Estonians, the Ukrainians and so forth as their means of doing the killing and massacring.
For example, all of the guards at the concentration camps basically there might have been six or eight Germans in the whole camp, they were the commanding officers and so forth, but the guards who did the killing, those who shoved them into the gas chambers and who did the bestial driving them off the trains and so forth, they were the Ukranians and White Russians and Lithuanians, et cetera.
Of course, in all the little towns, the militia were the ones that went out and did the killing, the local militia would just take off on their own and for whatever reason round up the Jews, take them off into the woods and shoot them. This was the type of collaboration that the Germans liked, and perhaps used to its full extent.
As a matter of fact, it was a standard procedure in these various towns to put a sign out over the town when the Germans were coming in, "Juden Frat"; "Jew Free"; it means they have killed all of the Jews in the area, so that the Germans would treat them with respect and consideration.
Going further on into the War, with the Russian advances, these collaborationists, the camps guards, and the militia who had done the exterminations, fled along with the Germans because they knew if the Russians got them or their own compatriots got them they would be executed out of hand, so they fled with the Germans. They came into the various DP camps eventually, threw their papers away, and said "I am a refugee from Estonia,” “I am a refugee from Lithuania.” There were no records, there were no means of checking on them because all of the records were behind the Iron Curtain.
Some issue had been made how come the United States didn't investigate more fully_these people. Well, obviously the DP Commission, the Refugee Relief Act individuals were limited by their resources. As to the Germans, obviously, we had all of their records, we captured them, we set up the Berlin document center with these records so there were no Germans sneaking in because we had their records.
What we were, unfortunately, unable to do is check the background of the non-German people who were in the DP camps. And that is the reason we have, as I pointed out, this vast majority of non-Germans as part of the Nazi war criminals project. It's sort of misleading, because everybody thinks they are Nazi, and they are not Nazis. But collaborationists.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Zutty, getting back to the files for a moment, what was the condition of the Nazi war criminal files when you took over?
Mr. ZUTTY. Well, when we got them they were in a standard shape, as any other immigration file. Some of them were very, very thin and contained nothing in them but their visas. Others were voluminous, they contained results of previous investigations conducted by the Immigration Service, and some where there were allegations of Nazi war crimes in them, but no indication of any investigations conducted.
Mr. EILBERG. Bearing in mind the absence of modern methods of indexing or computerization, how can you know that papers were not removed from any particular file?
Mr. ZUTTY. Obviously, Mr. Eilberg, it is impossible to prove anything negatively. But the only one who could say something was missing positively was someone who took it himself and, as far as the statements previously heard here of material removed from files, obviously he cannot prove something negatively. But the only thing I can say in all my years there, and I have been there 30-odd years, and 4 years just on the Nazi war criminals project, I have never seen anybody deliberately remove any documents from files, or had any indications of this sort.
Mr. EILBERG. In the examination of these files were you in a position to determine how each of these cases was handled prior to your having assumed responsibility for them?
Mr. Zutty. Yes. In looking through a file it was easily determined whether there had been any previous investigation. If there had been a previous allegation, that was indicated in the file itself. As I might point out, back in 1966, Mr. Allen, who had been a previous witness here, did send a list of some 17 names to the then Attorney General Robert Kennedy alleging that these 17 individuals were involved in committing atrocities.
These letters and the material were in the files and, as I pointed out, I have never seen any evidence of, shall we say, misuse or taking out of any material from the files.
Mr. EILBERG. In the examination of these files, were you in a position to determine how each of these cases was handled prior to your having assumed responsibility for them?
Mr. ZUTTY. Yes. As I pointed out, Mr. Chairman, in the file itself was a record of the history of the individual from the day he came to the United States, including his visa, to the present. Now, if there had been a previous investigation conducted as a result of an allegation, the reports of investigation and relating materials were in the files, statements, and so forth, so it was easily determined whether there had been previous investigations conducted.
Mr. EILBERG. Were any of the alleged war criminal case files taken over by you previously closed then reopened and reinvestigated?
Mr. ZUTTY. Yes. Up until the advent of our project, I do not believe that the Immigration Service was successful in deporting or revoking anyone's citizenship prior to the project. As a matter of fact, until now, as far as I know, no one has ever been denaturalized or deported for war crimes.
The files do reflect that they had been closed because of lack of evidence to continue on further. But I think it would be fair to explain again the situation as of those dates.
Not in every case was there an investigation conducted. All I saw, for example, in some of the cases, which I pointed out arose as a result of Mr. Allen's letters, was a statement, a typewritten statement saying "memorandum for file.” It just gave the background of the individual, and a statement at the very end, saying "it does not appear that this individual is amenable to Service proceeding.”
Who wrote that or why I do not know. However, it must be looked at in the context of the time. This is 1966, the height of the Cold War. Whoever got these files as a result of the allegations by Mr. Allen may have taken the point of view that we would be beating our heads against a wall. We had at that time no liaison with Israel. We definitely were personna non grata with the Iron Curtain countries.
The possibility of getting witnesses was practically remote. In all our cases, we found very few survivors in the United States. The vast majority of the survivors, who testified in the 25 cases which are now being presented to various U.S. attorneys or to various immigration courts, for revocation or deportation stem from witnesses from the Iron Curtain countries.
Obviously, what happened, was, when the concentration camps were opened the survivors started to wander around. Now, the normal place for a survivor to go would be to his home town to see if any other survivors were left; therefore, these survivors went to their local communities in Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania, and so forth.
Then, the Iron Curtain came down, smack, they could not get out, so the survivors remained in the Iron Curtain countries with the one exception. Israel, because of the attempt by the Jewish survivors to migrate to Israel, subsequent to World War II, many survivors did end up in Israel.
The Israeli Government has been far and beyond the call of duty in cooperating, in trying to help us.
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Zutty, I believe you said that there were no statements or evidence presented up until 1973. Is that correct?
Mr. ZUTTY. What I did say was that we had no concrete evidence except in two cases. According to the files, we tried one of the cases and could not get documentation to deport this individual to Poland. That was one case. I think the case was tried in 1952.
There was one other case in which we were unsuccessful in getting a deportation.
Mr. EILBERG. Now over those years, were not Major Lengsfelder, of the Israel Police Department, and Simon Wiesenthal contributing data and statements?
Mr. ZUTTY. No, no. The first indication of Lengsfelder was when I attempted to attain liaison with the Israeli Government and that took a long time, for various bureaucratic reasons, but I finally was able to establish personal liaison by mail, with the cooperation of the Israeli Government, with Major Lengsfelder, and we did correspond person to person back and forth.
As for Weisenthal, we knew of his existence and once the project started we immediately got in touch with him and I did interview him in New York but, I might add, although he maintained a tremendous representation, and I am sure his work was fabulous, he has not furnished us with the names of any witnesses that were available that could help us.
His help has been strictly moral, shall we say, not evidentiary.
Mr. EILBERG. With regard to the files that you took over when you took over the special office, you say that some cases were reopened and reinvestigated. On what basis were those cases re opened?
Mr. ZUTTY. As I pointed out, the mandate or the directive that I was given was to investigate all cases regardless of whether they had been closed or not. Therefore, each and every case where there was an allegation involving genocide, maltreatment of prisoners and so forth, we investigated them out of hand, regardless of what the previous determination had been on them.
Mr. EILBERG. You started a new investigation on each of your active files?
Mr. ZUTTY. Each of the active files we did a complete investigation. On every case we went overseas to Israel and Russia.
Mr. EILBERG. You mentioned earlier the enormous bureaucratic difficulties you encountered specifically with the State Department.
Would you expand on that a little?
Mr. ZUTTY. Yes; from the inception it seems that time, for whatever reason, was always working against us. I was well aware that the majority of these individuals, by virtue of just history, must be in their 60's, 70's, and 80's, with rare exception we found a youngster of about our age.
The situation, heretofore, was such that I knew that we have to expedite our work or we are going to end up finding out evidence on a lot of dead people, and with this in mind, I immediately started to establish liaison with the Israeli Government, which I felt was our No. 1 source for witnesses.
As you know, or as anyone involved in investigation, in order to proceed against people we have to have eyewitness evidence. The fact that so and so heard that so and so committed atrocities, is of course, wasted evidence so we had to look for eyewitness survivors. As I mentioned, the only eyewitness survivors that we felt would be able to be found would be in either Israel or behind the Iron Curtain.
The way we tried to obtain liaison with the Israeli Government for witnesses, was by originally writing letters. By the way, I might point out that when you questioned Mr. Greene yesterday, and he didn't seem to have any knowledge as to what was happening, this is understandable. I was the one writing the letters. He is so far above me in position that he never sees the letters or correspondence.
I would send them off to Washington who, in turn, would transmit it to the State Department. I was the one doing all of the corresponding. I felt sorry for Mr. Greene, he didn't know the answers, but he was in no position to know them, nor should he be in a position to know them.
Mr. EILBERG. Didn't you discuss these matters with him?
Mr. ZUTTY. Not with Mr. Greene. I am way on the bottom of the totem pole. I was doing the work. I was not doing the operational work on the total immigration problem.
Mr. EILBERG. Please get back to my question regarding State Department cooperation.
Mr. ZUTTY. OK. Do you want me to continue on that?
Mr. ZUTTY. Initially, I wrote to our office in Athens to try to establish liaison with Major Lengsfelder, of the Israel Police Department in Israel. After about 6 months or more, and repeatedly asking the central office what is happening with my request, finally about a year later. I received back word that Mr. Keating, who was our Ambassador to Israel, felt that this is something that should go through the State Department in Washington and not through his office.
So I in turn started the whole process again asking the State Department to establish liaison with Israel, which took about another few months or roughly about 142 years in time.
I finally got word that the Israeli Government was very, very happy to cooperate with us, and I should contact the Israeli consul in New York. I subsequently did, and he came up to the office. I gave him photographs of all our subjects, and had a long discussion with him. He, in turn, said he would relate this information back to Lengsfelder. This was not a workable system, so, I asked permission if I could correspond directly with Major Lengsfelder, and he directly with me, which, in turn we did. We must have written hundreds of letters back and forth.
Mr. EILBERG. Are you saying that as far as the State Department is concerned, there were interminable delays?
Mr. ZUTTY. Yes. But again, the State Department has its own problems. For example, we repeatedly tried to obtain evidence behind the Iron Curtain. We wrote letter after letter asking for witnesses to be interviewed behind the Iron Curtain with no results, and it's really only until your trip or your committee's trip to Russia that they finally started to produce, and I might add for your own edification, Mr. Chairman, we received literally, maybe 100 to 150 beautifully typed testimonies of eyewitnesses, which included those who are not Jewish, most of the Jews were killed.
Some of the witnesses were people who actually did the killing or were involved with the killing. They were part of the militia groups, part of the people who did the killing. Of course, many times they would say, we were on the hill watching, and did none of the killing, but what I am trying to point out, we would get sometimes 20 of these affidavits back from Russia including photographs, maps, and descriptions just on one case.
Now I have heard, that the Russian authorities are very, very upset that despite all of the material that they have sent us, and they have really done a professional job, that nothing is happening and are somewhat reluctant to continue with this tremendous expense they incur in interviewing these people.
Mr. EILBERG. Are you speaking of the Israelis now?
Mr. ZUTTY. No, I am talking about the Russians now. The Israelis, we have had no derogatory comments. I think they realize just like in this country when a bill is introduced in Congress it takes 4
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