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May 09, 1986 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-05-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

EVERYTHING MUST GO!

NEWS

Deportation
Hearing
Concludes

Cincinnati (JTA) — The two-
week deportation hearing
against a 62-year-old construc-
tion worker accused of perse-
cuting inmates at a Nazi labor
camp during the Holocaust
recently concluded here, leaving
the fate of Leonid Petkiewytsch
in the hands of Judge 0. John
Brahos. He is not expected to
render a decision until early
September.
Petkiewytsch, a resident of
the suburban community of Fin-
neytown, is accused by the gov-
ernment of having concealed his
past war-time activities when he
applied for entry into the coun-
try in 1955, and having partici-
pated as a guard at the Kiel-
Hassee camp in the "persecu-
tion of persons because of their
race, religion, natural origin and
political opinion under the direc-
tion of the Nazi government of
Germany."
Testifying in his own defense,
Petkiewytsch admitted having
served as a guard at the labor
camp in Germany, but claimed
that he never persecuted
prisoners. In addition, he denied
that he concealed information
from American authorities when
lie applied for a visa to enter the
U.S.
The Kiel-Hassee labor camp,
one of the lesser-known camps
run by the Nazi war machine,
had an average population of
some 1,800 persons. There are
estimates that 550 died there;
150 by execution. The Jewish
population there was relatively
small, with most arriving in the
last months of the war. About
160 Jewish prisoners were liber-
ated from the camp in April,
1945.
Petkiewytsch is not a U.S.
citizen, and it was his attempt
in 1982 to become a naturalized
citizen that alerted an immigra-
tion official to his past activi-
ties. He apparently indicated on
the 1982 application that he had
been a labor camp guard. The of-
ficial alerted the Justice Depart-
ment's Office of Special In-
vestigations in Washington.
Petkiewytsch, whose twin
brother George Petke of West-
ern Hills also provided testi-
mony, told the immigration
hearing that he and his parents
fled Poland, fearing the Russian
forces. He and his brother were
later assigned jobs by the Ger-
mans at the Kiel-Hassee camp,
they said. They told the court
that they were given little choice
in the matter: either to go as
guards or as prisoners.
Issued carbines and uniforms,
the brothers testified that they
escorted prisoners back and
forth from Kiel for daily work
details, patrolled the perimeter
of the camp and did other
chores. They asserted they
never beat prisoners or partici-
pated in any executions.
While the brcithers said the
camp was like an ordinary j ail,
six Jewish survivors of Kiel-
Hassee provided conflicting
testimony about the brutal con-
ditions of the labor camp.

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