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U.S. v. FIRISHCHAK

August 30, 2005.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
OSYP FIRISHCHAK, a.k.a OSIP/YOSEF/JOSIF/JOSYF, FIRISCHTSCHAK/FIRISCAK/FIRISCHAK/FIRISZCZAK/FIRISCHTSCHUK/ FIRITSCHAK/FIRSCHAK Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The government brought this civil action against Defendant Osyp Firishchak ("Firishchak") by filing a four count complaint alleging that Firishchak's United States citizenship was illegally procured, and therefore must be revoked pursuant 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a). A bench trial was held before this court on August 1, 2, and 3 of 2005.

Firishchak has unsuccessfully attempted to deceive the government and this Court. Firishchak's shameless attempt to excuse himself from an inexcusable act is cowardly. We have taken all of the evidence presented at trial into consideration and have reviewed all of the documents submitted to the court by the parties. We find that Firishchak lied on the stand before the court and we find that he was a member of the Ukranian Auxiliary Police ("UAP") during World War II.

  United States citizenship through naturalization is an honor and a privilege. It would be a travesty of justice to grant citizenship to an individual such as Firishchak or to allow him to keep his citizenship which was procured illegally through fraud and deceit. The evidence presented by the government and Firishchak's own incredible testimony shows that he was a participant in an organization that perpetrated some of the most horrific acts against human decency ever known in history. Since the government has shown by clear and convincing evidence that Firishchak was a member of the UAP, the court cannot turn a blind eye to his reprehensible conduct due to the passage of time or his advanced age. Firishchak, after procuring his entry into the United States illegally, has enjoyed over 50 years of the benefits of a life in the United States, a life victims of the atrocities were given no chance to enjoy. Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Justice has finally caught up with Firishchak.

  FINDINGS OF FACT

  1. Firishchak was born on April 18, 1919, in Trebuszany (Trebusany, Trybushany, Tyshbushany), a town which became a part of Czechoslovakia after World War I, and now is a part of Ukraine (and renamed Delovoe (Delovoye)). 2. Firishchak's father was named Hrec (Hryts) Firishchak. Firishchak's mother was named Mariya Firishchak (neé Yurkuch, Yurkuts).

  3. No other persons with Firishchak's name were born in the town of Trebuszany on the same date that Firishchak was born (i.e., on April 18, 1919).

  4. On August 1, 1941, following Nazi Germany's June 1941 invasion of what was then Soviet territory, Nazi Germany incorporated eastern Galicia into the so-called Government General, a territory comprising the central and southern part of Nazi-occupied prewar Poland. The new Galician territory, designated "District Galicia," was ruled from the city of L'viv (L'vov, Lwow), which the Germans called Lemberg.

  5. In August 1941, the German Commander of the Order Police for District Galicia directed the formation of Ukrainian auxiliary police ("UAP") forces, also commonly referred to as the "Ukrainian Police," to aid German occupation authorities in policing the district.

  6. Throughout its existence, the UAP in District Galicia was financed, and operationally directed and controlled, by German authorities. The members of the UAP in L'viv were uniformed, armed, paid a salary, and were given various benefits by the German authorities, including leave, and preferential access to scarce heating fuel, potato and other rations in winter.

  7. The Nazi occupation forces enacted a series of race-based persecutory policies against the civilian population of District Galicia. Jews were at the bottom of the Nazi racial hierarchy, and the persecution and eventual elimination of Jews was a central objective of the Nazi invasion of eastern Europe and the territories of what was then the Soviet Union, and its subsequent occupation policy.

  8. Poles and Ukrainians also were considered by the Nazis to be of low racial value, but not nearly as low as Jews. Unemployed Poles and Ukrainians, particularly young men, were at risk of being seized for local labor or transported to Germany to perform labor for the German Reich.

  9. Nazi persecutory policy toward the Jews in District Galicia had three main components: 1) all Jews first were confined in ghettos and issued new identification papers that identified them as Jews; 2) nearly all of these Jews later were forcibly removed from the ghetto for subsequent murder either by shooting or gassing; and 3) a limited number of Jews whom the Germans considered "work capable" temporarily were spared and were transferred to forced labor camps where many died from starvation, disease and other inhumane conditions. 10. The UAP was divided into "commissariats." Each commissariat was responsible for a geographically defined section of the city and was tasked to enforce German rule, including day-to-day anti-Jewish policies.

  11. The 1st Commissariat of the UAP in L'viv had responsibility for the heart of the city, where most offices of the German security authorities were situated. The 1st Commissariat encompassed a portion of the Jewish residential district ("ghetto") until spring 1942. Thereafter, the northern boundary of the 1st Commissariat abutted the southern edge of the L'viv Jewish ghetto.

  12. The headquarters building of the 1st Commissariat of the UAP was located at 30 Kazymyrivska (Kasimir) Street in L'viv.

  13. Firishchak began working for the 1st Commissariat of the UAP in L'viv (Lwow, L'vov, Lemberg) on October 25, 1941. He held the rank of Wachtmeister (Police Private). Firishchak served in the 1st Commissariat of the UAP until at least October 1943.

  14. At some time in October 1943, Firishchak transferred from the 1st Commissariat to the Guard Company of the UAP in L'viv, and served in that unit until shortly before the German occupation forces fled L'viv in July 1944. 15. The Guard Company of the UAP was situated in the heart of what had until June 1943 been the Jewish ghetto in L'viv.

  16. During his service in the UAP in L'viv, Firishchak was uniformed, armed, and paid a salary, and he received all of the benefits accorded by the German authorities to members of the UAP.

  17. During his service in the UAP in L'viv, Firishchak performed all of the duties of a Ukrainian Auxiliary policeman, which included on a routine and daily basis enforcing Nazi anti-Jewish policies.

  18. UAP participation was central to the implementation of all facets of Nazi anti-Jewish policy. On a routine and daily basis, the men of the UAP all contributed to the Nazi persecution of the Jews of L'viv.

  19. The Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen in L'viv enforced Nazi persecutory measures against those who the Nazis deemed dangerous or undesirable because of their race, religion, national origin or political belief, especially the Jews in the city. These activities included checking personal identification documents and arresting Jews who lacked special work passes, and arresting Jews who failed to wear an armband bearing the Star of David symbol that publicly identified them as Jews. All members of the UAP performed these duties.

  20. Even enforcement of rules applicable to the general civilian population had a disproportionate effect on the Jews of L'viv. For instance, because food rations for Jews were set at half those of non-Jews, Jews were forced to try to make up for the deficiency by purchasing more expensive goods on the black market. Policing of black market activity by the UAP thus impacted more heavily on the Jewish population.

  21. In November 1941, all Jews living in L'viv were ordered to move to a newly-created Jewish ghetto north of the city center. The area was cleared at the same time of all non-Jews. The operation was not completed until spring 1942.

  22. During this ghettoization process, German police and security personnel screened Jews moving into the quarter for personal valuables, which they seized. Security forces also selected ill, weak, or old Jews for immediate "resettlement" — a Nazi euphemism for murder. Persons so selected were removed to a nearby forest and shot. Thousands of Jews were killed during the ghetto's creation.

  23. German security forces began the reduction of L'viv's ghetto in a series of actions in March 1942, even as the ghetto was itself still being consolidated. Jews were first collected at a school, then were transferred to a railhead on the edge of the city, from where most were taken by train for "labor deployment in the East" — another Nazi euphemism for murder, in this instance in the gas chambers of Belzec extermination center, outside of L'viv. A few Jews were transferred to Janowska Forced Labor Camp in L'viv, where almost all died.

  24. Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen in L'viv performed so-called "extraordinary" duties with regard to the ghetto, which included, inter alia: taking part in sweeps of the ghetto during periodic reduction actions; manning cordon posts around the city to prevent Jews from escaping before and during such actions; and hunting for Jews who attempted to hide or flee.

  25. Throughout its existence, the UAP in L'viv did not have sufficient manpower to carry out the responsibilities assigned to it by German security authorities, particularly with regard to its "extraordinary" duties, i.e., those relating to periodic reductions of the Jewish ghetto. All members of the UAP — including Firishchak — thus performed these "extraordinary" duties.

  26. Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen, including members of the 1st Commissariat, took part in the March 1942 ghetto reduction actions, and delivered to their German superiors thousands of Jews for "resettlement." 27. Another round-up of Jews took place in L'viv on June 24-25, 1942. The Jews were sent to Janowska Forced Labor Camp, or were "locally resettled," i.e., shot in a forest outside of the city.

  28. Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen, including members of the 1st Commissariat, participated in the round-up of Jews that took place in L'viv on June 24-25, 1942.

  29. In August 1942, German authorities began the largest ghetto reduction action against the residents of the L'viv Jewish ghetto, an action commonly known as the "Great Operation." During this action, which began August 10 and continued until August 23, Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen checked the identity papers of Jews in the ghetto. Jews whose documents attested to employment in a German-sanctioned industrial enterprise were left at liberty in the ghetto; Jews who lacked the necessary authentication stamps or documentation were seized and delivered to an assembly point in the city center to await "resettlement." Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen also: escorted Jews from the assembly point to the railhead or Janowska Forced Labor Camp; provided search teams that cleared Jews from apartments; escorted the Jews between processing points; and manned the cordon duty posts to prevent Jews from escaping from the city. During the two-week operation members of the UAP seized and delivered for "resettlement" at least 18,400 Jews. 30. Prior to the Great Operation, the UAP established a cordon around L'viv to prevent Jews from fleeing the city to escape "resettlement," as had occurred during earlier ghetto clearance actions.

  31. Members of the 1st Commissariat and its Department of Street Traffic actively participated in all aspects of the Great Operation.

  32. During the Great Operation of August 1942, Ukrainian Auxiliary policemen, including members of the 1st Commissariat, shot to death dozens of Jews who resisted, fled, or attempted to hide.

  33. On August 9, 1942, on the eve of the Great Operation, Firishchak took part in a search to locate seven men who did not report for duty with the 1st Commissariat's Department of Street Traffic. Several of the men Firishchak had been assigned to locate thereafter participated directly in the Great Operation.

  34. Between March 1942 and June 1943, virtually all of the more than 100,000 Jews in L'viv were seized and transported to killing sites, including Belzec, or to forced labor camps. The Jewish ghetto in L'viv (which became known as the "Jewish camp" (Julag)) was liquidated in June 1943, and its Jews were shot or transferred to forced labor camps. Members of the 1st Commissariat participated in these June ...


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