An Illinois man who claims to have spent World War II as a farm laborer and university student was allegedly identified by a convicted war criminal as commander of a Latvian police unit that executed thousands of Jews.
The deportation hearing ended Wednesday in the case of Konrads Kalejs, 75, of Northfield, Ill., alleged by the Justice Department to be one of the highest-ranking Nazi collaborators living in the United States.A decision from Immigration Judge Anthony Petrone is not expected before late September.
The government is seeking to deport Kalejs for allegedly lying about his military service when he obtained a U.S. entry visa in 1959.
Kalejs is accused of being a company commander in the Arajs Kommando, a Latvian auxiliary police mobile execution unit that killed at the bidding of the Nazis - exterminating thousands of Jews, gypsies and other civilians during the German occupation of Latvia.
Three years after serving in the Arajs Kommando, which he allegedly joined in July of 1941, Kalejs entered the 15th SS Grenadier Battalion of the Latvian Legion, where he served as a first lieutenant, the Justice Department claims.
The government presented only one rebuttal witness Wednesday, a federal investigator who linked Kalejs with convicted war criminal Viktors Arjas, leader of the Arajs Kommando.
Kalejs contends he served as commander of a Latvian Army ski patrol in 1941, which he described as a "self defense unit."