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I am afraid that the residue of your embracement of the propaganda of Palestinian extremists, the adoption of the cause in their own sloganeering terms, is creating a backlash from which Jews in the United States are suffering a traumatic crisis of identity and will probably also suffer physical harm. The other day a young man from Brooklyn wrote a rueful letter to a New York newspaper, commenting on the outburst of Miss Vanessa Redgrave, equating Zionism with hoodlumism. "I have now been termed," wrote Mr. Robert Paris, "an imperialist by Anwar Sadat, a racist by the UN and a hoodlum by Vanessa Redgrave. None of them claims to be antiSemitic; they are only anti-Zionist."
During Prime Minister Menachem Begin's recent visit to the United States, when Southern hospitality was conspicuous by its absence from the White House, you gave a convincing impression that so are you.
Hon. JOSHUA EILBERG,
DEAR CONGRESSMAN EILBERG: I appreciate having received a copy of the GAO report on the INS investigations of alleged Nazi war criminals. While its contents seem to substantiate the claim that there has not been a massive overt attempt to hinder such investigations, it leaves unanswered, at least in my mind, the possibility of covert and less than massive attempts to stifle adequate investigations.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspects of this report were the indication of poor administration of INS files and records and the difficulty of obtaining information from other U.S. Government agencies and other governments. That the State Department felt that for political reasons information should not be sought on alleged war criminals from Russia and Eastern European governments is particularly disappointing.
In the GAO report, great weight was attached to an "independent study of the INS" of March 1977. The fact that the individual hired for this study was a former employee of the INS would lead me to question the investigator's objectivity and impartiality.
However, to be fair, it is obvious that an improvement in the entire area of INS investigations of alleged Nazi war criminals has taken place since the establishment of the Project Control Office in 1973 and the subsequent establishment of the Special Litigation Unit under the direct control of the General Counsel. That together with a willingness to seek more information from other governments promises more efficiency in and a higher priority for such cases.
It is my sincere hope that your subcommittee will continue its oversight responsibility in this subject and will encourage all U.S. agencies to respond in an open and timely fashion to request for information.
Thank you for your efforts and for allowing me to see this full report.
RABBI HOWARD LIFSHITZ.
Hon. JOSHUA EILBERG,
ISRAEL POLICE HEADQUARTERS,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN EILBERG: Thank you for enclosing for my review a copy of the General Accounting office's report about Nazi War Criminals in the U.S. and asking for my comments. I think the report was a good one. As the report says, the investigations of alleged Nazi War Criminals residing in the U.S.A. were deficient or perfunctory before 1973, and have improved since then. We agree. Nevertheless more can be done. In the past we have not been totally satisfied with the efforts and coordination of Nazi prosecutions in the U.S., but I hope for better development in the future with the establishment of Mr. Mendelsohn's Special Litigation Unit in Washington, D.C. It would be best if the focus of all our contact were with this
office, but it is doubtful if this Unit is large enough to handle all Nazi prosecutions in the U.S. The proper prosecution of these cases is very important to us, and we believe your Committee can make it certain, that prosecutions are organized in the correct manner.
I have just finished reading the decision in the Fedorenko case and I assume you have read it too. I'm overlooking "pearls" like: “They were not allowed to fire a rifle or to keep one” (Page 12 of the decision), and: “Fedorenko had rights that the typical prisoner of war does not have, for example: carrying a rifle and a pistol defendant and the other prisoner guards near him fired over the heads of the prisoners. . . .” (Page 39 of the decision) and others. But notwithstanding the substance of the testimonies heard, while I do not want to interfere with the American legal process, I must tell you how shocked, saddened and disappointed I am. The decision leaves me wondering whether it is true or some macabre joke. In what other way can you explain comparing: "every Jewish prisoner who survived Treblinka because each one of them assisted the SS in the operation of the camp" (Page 37 of the decision), with the defendant Fedorenko who served as a SS guard at the death camp of Treblinka as a “victim of Nazi aggression” (last Page of the decision). This is more than I can take—and I hope more than the civilized world can take as well. I find this comparison a disrespect of the basic principals of humanity, macabre irony and rubbing-in salt into the open wounds of every Jew. Were Jews victims of Nazi aggression? Reading the decision makes me wonder. With a decision like this I can easily understand our witnesses, who expressed their disappointment of the way they were unprotected while roughly attacked in court, and it seems to me that it will be hard to convince the witnesses to appear again at an American Court. I would be most grateful if you would be able to do something this decision to be appealed. Thank you again for your valuable assistance.
cc: Miss Elizabeth Holzman
Mr. Martin Mendelsohn
SCHIANO & WALLENSTEIN,
Hon. JOSHUA EILBERG,
80 WALL STREET, New York, N. Y., May 30, 1978.
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. EILBERG: I was pleased and flattered to receive your letter of May 22, 1978, submitting for my perusual the GAO report. I cannot help but agree with your observation. This letter is merely a preliminary response as I hope to outline in detail the errors, discrepancies, contradictions, etc., contained in the report.
My purpose in responding immediately is to ask whether we may receive information concerning the identity of some of the persons referred to in the report. It is important in order to evaluate the observations made by these so-called individuals who "had responsibilities for these cases or who were in positions of authority Only in that fashion can we ascertain the qualifications, reliability and
competency of those persons making the alleged observations.
For instance, there is the untrue, erroneous, preposterous declaration by an INS official that there was no formal procedure for reviewing documents referred by other agencies. In addition, a former INS official stated that it was a common practice for district office personnel not to review FBI documents received by mail (as opposed to Pony Express, I suppose). The report states that when the documents were received, clerical personnel merely placed them in the file. In fact, if there is any current INS official admitting to such a practice, he would be violating internal instructions, procedures outlined in the investigative manual, and would be in a sense, hiding information. Informational reports received from the FBI, for instance, must have classifications. The file into which such reports are placed must be accorded the same level of classification. This is not a clerical task. The file, if not assigned, must be given to someone, notably a supervisor, for review and action. There are procedures for the person reviewing the confidential material, especially secret material, to sign receipts for the material as well as the file. I could go on extensively to demonstrate how ridiculous the observation made on page 10 of the report is.
Additionally and generally, I do take exception to the language used in the report, such as "widespread conspiracy." I do not know why there is any need to modify any conspiracy or identify it as being widespread or ignore it if not widespread. The investigation itself admits that it cannot rule out the possibility of undetected,
isolated instances of deliberate obstruction. This represents the same type of evasive language and maneuver which we accused the agency of.
The report at best is inadequate. If you recall, when we appeared together on the "MacNeil-Lehrer Report," I emphasized that there should be an investigation of the problem; but that the investigative efforts should concentrate on the period of time prior to 1973. The GAO perhaps found it convenient to direct their attention and to write extensively on all that occurred since 1973. I shall deal with this observation in greater detail later.
With your permission I shall withhold further comment until my next report, where I hope to particularize the errors and inadequacies of the GAO presentation. Moreover, you might find it more desirable and to your interest for me to appear in Washington at your convenience for an in-depth discussion of the report. I shall be pleased to come at my own expense, and I suggest that perhaps an outside task force, including myself and persons such as Chuck Allen, meet with you in order to chronicle the list of objections under the report.
I think we are all disappointed by this report, and it is a shame that so much time and money was wasted on this exercise of incoherence. It seems that the same genius and dedication that is applied to the prosecution of our citizens suddenly disappears and is replaced by supercautiousness, if not timidity, doubt and hesitancy-all expressed in the remarkable language of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. I await your instructions.
VINCENT A. SCHIANO.
139 RAYMOND STREET Darien, Conn., July 18, 1978
Hon. JOSHUA EILBERG,
Committee on the Judiciary,
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN Eilberg: Thank you for your letter of July 10th 1978 received in the evening of the 14th, inviting me to attend a hearing in Washington on July 20th. Confirming my telegram of today's date, I regret that I am unable to be in Washington on that day; however, I trust that the observations which follow will assist you in your endeavours while precluding the need for me to testify in person. As a matter of fact, the testimony which I might contribute in respect of the subjects described in the fourth paragraph of your letter I have already largely given in two hearings of the House and Senate, in 1949 and 1950 respectively. Of the first, conducted by one of your predecessors, Francis E. Walter, my testimony is contained in pages 59 through 75 of House Report No. 1507, 81st Congress 2nd Session, entitled "Displaced Persons in Europe and their resettlement in the United States", dated January 20, 1950. Of the second hearing, my testimony is contained in pages 827 through 880 of the Report entitled "Displaced Persons-Hearings before the Sub-Committee on Amendments to the Displaced Persons Act of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-First Congress, First and Second Session, on Bills to Amend the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, March 25, 1949 to March 15, 1950". (Government Printing Office No. 63475). Both of these reports contain other testimony pertinent to the implementation of the Act which might be of interest. However, I should mention that the Senate Committee Chairman was extremely hostile towards the Displaced Persons Act, the Commission and the proposed amendments, an attitude which should be taken into account in considering the tone and substance of the interrogations.
In the last clause of your fourth paragraph you invite my opinion as to the reasons why "so many" of these individuals (the alleged Nazi war criminals) succeeded in gaining admission under the Displaced Persons Act. Frankly, I cannot voice an opinion thereon because I do not know how many such persons did in fact so gain admission. The GAO report does not identify the procedure or program under which each individual in question entered the United States, and to my knowledge there were six such possibilities in addition to the DP Act since the end of World War II. To the extent that the means of entry may be relevant to the current investigations it would seem to me useful to establish in each case the method which obtained, and I would believe that the INS files on all these cases must contain that information as the basis for visa issuance. The files of such cases as are revealed to have gained admission under the DP Act could then be examined for fraud or flaws, and thus possibly shed light on how the controls were evaded. Beyond this, if I may offer a philosophical observation, the term “many” is relative, and while of course "none" would be better, the actual number of undesirables who
gained admission might well be weighed against the approximately 400,000 legitimate and deserving displaced persons who were admitted in the process.
Further in respect of the GAO report insofar as it refers to the Displaced Persons Act, the Commission and its operations, I would have the following comments: the second paragraph on page 2 cites the closing date of the DP Act as June 30, 1953, whereas the program ended on June 30, 1952; and the number of persons admitted under the Act was in the neighborhood of 400,000, rather than the 339,698 stated;
sentence (1) in the 6th paragraph of page 3 states "criticized . . . the Displaced Persons Commission for accepting certain international refugee organizations"; this sentence is incomprehensible;
sentence (2) in the same paragraph refers to “aliens . . . admitted to the United States despite adverse reports in the Berlin Document Center . . ."; the term "despite" is incorrect and a misrepresentation of the procedure which sometimes allowed otherwise eligible displaced persons to sail before the reports from the BDC were received, subject to the return by the INS of any rare individual on whom the report contained disqualifying information. The reason for this procedure, explained in my testimony before the Senate Committee, was to expedite the general movement of cases in the face of long delays in receiving the BDC checks, in the knowledge that adverse information would be infinitesimal, and in response to the intense humanitarian concern in the United States that as many displaced persons as possible be moved within the short life-span of the DP Act.
the last paragraph on page 32 refers to background investigations conducted by the US Army and Displaced Persons Commission on "some" of the individuals contained in the GAO list of 111. I presume that these are in effect cases duly processed under the DP Act and, again, it would be helpful to know the exact number represented in the term "some".
I would suggest, Mr. Eilberg, that a review of my testimony in the two reports of previous hearings mentioned above may answer most of the questions which might have been addressed to me at the hearing, but I shall in any case gladly remain at your disposal for any further clarifications or assistance for which you might subsequently care to call upon me.
With cordial regards, I remain
ALEXANDER E. SQUADRILLI.
PS: As you requested, I enclose herewith a short biographical outline of myself.
GERETY & GERETY,
1960 BRONSON ROAD, Fairfield, Conn., September 5, 1978.
ARTHUR P. ENDRES, Jr., Counsel, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. ENDRES: Enclosed is the transcript of hearings before the Subcommittee on alleged Nazi war criminals which you sent for review to me under date of July 25, 1978. I was on vacation during most of August and did not have the opportunity to study the transcript until recently. Fortunately, I found very few errors and none of them were significant. I have indicated in the margin where corrections should be made.
I have, however, found two areas of questioning with respect to which I believe my responses, or those of my deputy, Mr. Rieger, were incomplete or inadequate and I request that this letter be added to the record as a supplemental statement. (1) At several points during the questioning (e.g. line 1889, page 100), we were asked where the committee might go to explore further whether Nazi war criminals were discovered in our investigations and, if so, how many.
Neither Mr. Rieger nor I had any recollection of any specific case nor could we remember how many Nazis might have been discovered.
I would like to suggest that the committee should obtain the testimony in that regard of the man who was my director of European operations. His name is Wolf Lehmann. He is a Foreign Service Officer presently serving as Consul General at Frankfurt, Germany. Mr. Lehmann was born in Berlin. His family left Germany after his father was discharged from his job as a professor at Berlin University. The discharge occurred because the father's ideas were not acceptable to the Nazis. In addition, the father was partly Jewish. The Lehmann family fled to Italy and then
came to the United States. I believe that Mr. Lehmann would have been particularly aware of our desire to exclude people with Nazi backgrounds.
(2) At lines 2256 through 2263, pages 119 and 120, Ms. Holtzman asked me to explain why no effort was made to obtain information from Eastern European countries about applicants who were of Eastern European or Russian origin.
I would like to say in answer to that question that to make the kind of check Ms. Holtzman suggested would have required us to supply the Soviets with the names of hundreds of thousands of people who had fled from Soviet domination and were living in refugee camps in Western Europe. Most of them were sustained, in large measure, by the hope that they would be able to resettle in the free world. It would have been a heartless thing to furnish their names to the Soviets, who could wreak God knows what vengeance on the relatives they left behind. If we had done that, and the fact became known, few would have applied for visas. Furthermore, I doubt that we would have gotten any reliable information.
For those reasons, I believe that our procedures were correct then and would be adopted today in any similar situation.
Very truly yours,
PIERCE J. GERETY.