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A federal appeals court has revoked the citizenship of an 84-year-old New York resident who admitted he was a member of a Nazi firing squad in Poland that killed Jews during World War II. The ruling in United States v. Reimer, 02-6286, from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and written by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, affirmed the findings of Southern District Senior Judge Lawrence M. McKenna, who discredited the man’s claim that he was merely a functionary who served under the Nazis against his will and personally did not kill anyone. The man, Jack Reimer, was captured by the German army when it invaded the former Soviet Union and was put in service of the Nazis in Poland. Reimer, who once owned a restaurant in Times Square, is an ethnic German who was born in Ukraine. Seven years after World War II, he was granted a visa to the United States. He became a naturalized citizen in 1959. Though Reimer admitted to serving in a group of German guards who policed concentration camps in Poland and cleared the country’s Jewish ghettos, he said he served against his will and performed mostly administrative duties, such as managing food and supplies. Reimer said he also witnessed mass killings of Jews and, in 1941, he acted as an armed guard when Jewish inhabitants of Lublin, Poland, where cleared from buildings, thrown into a pit and murdered. Reimer admitted that he fired on command at a person in the pit who was still alive. But, he claimed, he fired over the victim’s head intentionally. Judge McKenna found that Reimer’s conduct clearly amounted to assistance in the persecution of Jews and ordered his citizenship voided. In affirming that ruling, the 2nd Circuit held that Reimer was far different from a captive who could not be held responsible for his conduct. The court called Reimer’s claim about firing over the victim’s head “self-serving.” “We find it no less an act of assistance in persecution that [Reimer], whose presence just as much as that of the other armed guards forced the victim to remain in the pit waiting to be murdered, ultimately fired over the victim’s head,” Sotomayor wrote for the court. The court declared that Reimer’s original visa, which he received under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, was invalid. The act barred people who persecuted others because of their race, religion or national origin from receiving visas. Judge Dennis G. Jacobs concurred on the ruling. Judge Fred I. Parker had been the third member of the court to hear Reimer’s appeal, but he died before last week’s ruling was completed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gideon A. Schor represented the government, along with Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Office of Special Investigations at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Ramsey Clark represented Reimer.

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