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Archive for Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ex-Florida resident guilty in Nazi trial

March 28, 2006

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— An 85-year-old Lithuanian deported from Florida was convicted Monday of helping Nazis murder Jews during World War II, but the judge said the man was too frail to serve prison time.

The Vilnius District Court said Algimantas Dailide helped round up Jews for the Nazis as part of the Nazi-backed Vilnius security police during World War II, when nearly 90 percent of Lithuania's Jewish population was killed.

"The defendant was fully aware he was committing crimes against Jews but did not personally take part in killings or torture," Judge Alvyra Kvaraciejute said. "For the last 60 years, he did not commit any crimes. Dailide does not pose a threat to society and is too infirm to serve a prison sentence."

Prosecutors had asked for a five-year jail sentence. The charge, officially "an action against civilians, prohibited by international law," typically carries a prison sentence of between five and 20 years.

Dailide, who traveled willingly from his current home in Germany, denied the charges. In 2003, the United States deported the real estate agent, who had lived in Cleveland and Gulfport, Fla., since 1955, for lying about his wartime past.

Most of Vilnius' 60,000 prewar Jews were killed in the autumn of 1941. Nearly 90 percent of Lithuania's prewar Jewish population of 220,000 were killed during the war.

Dailide is the third person to stand trial for aiding in the mass murder of Jews since Lithuania regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

None of the three has served prison time. Aleksandrs Lileikis died before the court could pass judgment on him. Kazys Gimzauskas was convicted but also was deemed too infirm to serve his sentence. He died shortly after his trial.

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