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Leaked DOJ report reveals Nazi 'safe havens' in US

A report [text] revealing that US intelligence officials knowingly allowed Nazis to settle in US "safe havens" [NYT report] after World War II was released Saturday by the New York Times after being leaked by former Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] officials. The 600-page report describes the actions of the DOJ's Office of Special Investigations (OSI), created in 1979 to deport Nazis, and documents cases of Nazis who were aided by US officials. According to the report, Nazi persecutors gained entry to the US even though government officials were aware of their backgrounds. Senior DOJ lawyer Mark Richard, responsible for editing the final version, convinced then-attorney general Janet Reno [official profile] to commission the report in 1999. Although Richard urged senior officials to make the report public until his death, the DOJ has resisted releasing the report since 2006. Director of the National Security Archive [official website] Tom Blanton, said:

Embarrassment suffered by public officials is the price they pay for public power. It goes with the territory, but here, their coverup is not nearly as bad as the crime, which was to shelter Nazi war criminals in the name of national security. This the public needs to know and has a right to know.
In November 2009, the National Security Archive submitted [press release] a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [5 USC § 552 text] request [text, PDF] for the history of the OSI. The DOJ denied the request [text, PDF] on the grounds that the report fell under exemptions to the FOIA as it was a deliberative and pre-decisional document that was never finalized or approved by the assistant attorney general. The National Security Archive appealed [text, PDF] the decision and, in May 2010, subsequently filed suit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website]. Under the threat of a lawsuit, the DOJ then released a redacted version [text, PDF] of the document.

While more than 300 Nazi persecutors have been deported, stripped of citizenship or denied entry to the US since the creation of the OSI, the Holocaust continues to affect today's legal world. In May, a German court denied a motion to dismiss [JURIST report] charges against alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive]. A year earlier, the US Supreme Court [official website] denied an application for stay of deportation [JURIST report] filed by Demjanjuk, who faces 27,900 accessory accounts stemming from his alleged involvement as a guard at Sobibor [Death Camps backgrounder] concentration camp. Also this May, the DOJ announced that the Philadelphia Immigration Court [official website] had ordered the deportation [JURIST report] of former SS guard Anton Geiser to Austria for serving as an armed guard at the Sachsenhausen and the Buchenwald concentration camps during World War II. In April, the Regensburg District Court in southern Germany convicted British Bishop Richard Williamson [JURIST report] of incitement for denying the Holocaust and ordered him to pay a 10,000 euro fine. In March, a German court sentenced [JURIST report] former Nazi SS member Heinrich Boere to life in prison for the 1944 murders of three Dutch civilians. In August, a German district court sentenced [JURIST report] former Nazi army officer Josef Scheungraber to life in prison for the 1944 reprisal killing of 10 Italian civilians.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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