Protesting delays in deportation, about 200 people picketed Sunday outside the home of a former member of a Lithuanian police force that helped Nazis kill Jews.
“It has nothing to do with us being Jews. It has everything to do with America fighting these guys in World War II and now he’s living in America’s back yard,” said Matthew Burg, 17, a student at Rambam Mesivta Maimonides High School in Lawrence, N.Y. Most of the protesters came from the high school.
Jonas Stelmokas, 81, a retired architect who has lived in the neighborhood for decades, kept his blinds drawn.
A federal judge revoked Stelmokas’ citizenship in 1995, concluding that Stelmokas had hidden his membership in the 3rd Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalion from U.S. immigration officials after World War II. Stelmokas has been allowed to remain in the United States pending his legal appeals.
Federal officials say Stelmokas would have been denied U.S. citizenship if he had been truthful about belonging to a battalion that helped the Nazis wipe out 94 percent of the 210,000 Jews in Lithuania.
Instead, authorities said, Stelmokas told officials he had been a teacher, then had been unemployed.
In federal court, Stelmokas admitted having served in the battalion but denied helping in any Jewish slaughters. During his non-jury trial, the government presented no eyewitness testimony of Stelmokas’ participation in any atrocities.