773 F.2d 488 (3rd Cir. 1985), 83-1571, United States v. Kowalchuk

Docket Nº:83-1571.
Citation:773 F.2d 488
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Serge KOWALCHUK, a/k/a Serhij Kowalczuk Appeal of Serge KOWALCHUK.
Case Date:September 23, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

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773 F.2d 488 (3rd Cir. 1985)



Serge KOWALCHUK, a/k/a Serhij Kowalczuk

Appeal of Serge KOWALCHUK.

No. 83-1571.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

September 23, 1985

Argued April 23, 1984.

Argued In Banc May 6, 1985.

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John Rogers Carroll (argued), Carroll & Carroll, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant, Allison Pease, on brief.

Neal M. Sher, Director, Michael Wolf, Deputy Director, Jeffrey N. Mausner (argued), Samuel Rosenthal, (argued), U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for appellee.



ROSENN, Circuit Judge.

The Government instituted proceedings in the United States District Court to revoke and set aside an order admitting the defendant, Serge Kowalchuk, to citizenship because his naturalization had been illegally procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation. 1 In essence, the complaint alleged that the defendant failed to disclose in response to questions during the admissions procedure certain material facts: his membership in and employment by the Ukrainian militia and his residence in Lubomyl, Poland, during the war years 1941 and 1942. The

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complaint thus alleged that he entered this country unlawfully, procured his permanent residence by fraud, and obtained his naturalization illegally.

The district court, 571 F.Supp. 72, concluded that the defendant illegally procured his citizenship by entering this country with an invalid visa. It had two separate grounds for this conclusion. First, the defendant was not a genuine refugee of concern to the International Refugee Organization (IRO) and therefore was ineligible for admission under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 (DPA), Pub.L. No. 80-774, 62 Stat. 1009 (1948) (codified at 50 App.U.S.C. Secs. 1951-1965 (1982)). Second, the defendant was ineligible under section 10 of the DPA because he had made material misrepresentations to obtain the visa. The court accordingly revoked the defendant's citizenship and canceled his certificate of naturalization. We affirm.


These revocation proceedings have their genesis in Serge Kowalchuk's activities shortly after the German military forces occupied Lubomyl in June 1941. Within two or three weeks after occupation, the Germans organized the Ukrainian schutzmannschaft. 2 Shortly thereafter, the defendant, then an able-bodied twenty-one year old man, suitable for military service, successfully sought out the collaborating mayor of the city for employment.

His first assignment was to the food distribution center serving government employees and the militia. He apparently was in charge, for the only other employee there was his assistant. In about one and one-half months, he was assigned to the schutzmannschaft headquarters across the street. He worked at the food distribution center in the mornings and at militia headquarters in the afternoons. Apparently impressed by his services, his superiors, in August 1941, sent the defendant, according to his testimony, elsewhere for special training at no expense to him. He was the only selectee from the Lubomyl area in a class of between 45 and 50. Upon the conclusion of his six months "additional training in local administration" and German language study, he received a certificate of completion and returned to his duties with the Lubomyl schutzmannschaft. His duties now were full time with the militia 3 until he fled Lubomyl with the retreating German army. As was the case with only the commandant and deputy commandant, defendant had his own private office and occupied these quarters for almost three years, the remainder of the Nazi occupation.


To fully appreciate the defendant's role with the schutzmannschaft, an understanding of its function and its crucial importance to the Germans in carrying out the policies of the German army in the Ukraine may be helpful. The Germans organized indigenous personnel and formed them into auxiliary forces. They organized the Lubomyl schutzmannschaft into precisely such a body. These auxiliary forces enabled the Nazis to carry out their repressive and brutal policies and, at the same time, to wage an aggressive military campaign. As the district court found, "the occupying authorities did rely upon 'indigenous forces,' i.e., segments of the local population, to carry on the functions of government and to enforce the observance of restrictive edicts." United States v. Kowalchuk, 571 F.Supp. 72, 80 (E.D.Pa.1983).

According to Professor Raul Hilberg, a leading authority on the Holocaust produced

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as an expert witness by the Government at trial, "the availability of an auxiliary force made of Ukrainian personnel was of crucial importance to the Germans, particularly because without them nothing at all could have been accomplished" in carrying out the policies of the German army in the occupied territories. Dr. Hilberg further testified that the sheer numbers of those killed in the liquidation of the Jews required the use of indigenous personnel. As the district court found, the magnitude of the brutal plan to liquidate in one day the 5,000 to 6,000 Jews living in Lubomyl required not only the German soldiers available, but also "significant numbers of Ukrainian militiamen to assist them in escorting the Jews from the ghetto to the execution site, and to prevent escapes." United States v. Kowalchuk, 571 F.Supp. at 81. The district court found

What the evidence does establish with the requisite clarity and conviction is that the Lubomyl schutzmannschaft regularly and routinely enforced the martial law restrictions imposed by the Germans, including beating Jews found outside the ghetto after curfew, beating or severely reprimanding Jews who failed to wear the required insignia, assisting the Germans in confiscating valuables from the Jewish inhabitants, arresting and participating in the harsh punishment of persons involved in black-market activities or subversive activities hostile to the German occupation forces; and that the defendant was aware of the responsibilities assigned to the schutzmannschaft, and occupied a responsible position, albeit largely clerical, within that organization.

.. It is apparent ... that members of the schutzmannschaft accompanied the German gendarmes on the many occasions disclosed by the testimony when persons were rounded up for forced labor, or arrested for various supposed infractions; that many of the persons thus apprehended were killed soon afterward; and that members of the schutzmannschaft were present during such executions.

571 F.Supp. at 81.

The district court concluded that although the evidence did not disclose, with the requisite clarity, that the defendant personally participated in any individual atrocities, 4 the court nonetheless found:

[T]he evidence as a whole leaves little doubt that everyone associated with the schutzmannschaft, including the defendant, must have known of the harsh repressive measures which the schutzmannschaft were carrying out pursuant to German direction.

571 F.Supp. at 81.


When the Germans retreated from the Ukraine, the defendant elected to flee with them to Czechoslovakia. 5 The defendant

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and his younger brother, Mykola, ultimately arrived at a displaced persons camp near Salzburg, Austria. After spending four years there, the defendant applied in November 1947 for the necessary clearance certifying that he was a refugee "of concern" to the IRO. To obtain this certification, the defendant executed a required detailed personal history form (the CM/1 form). The defendant stated on this form that during the German occupation of the Ukraine, he lived in Kremianec, not Lubomyl, and that he worked there as a tailor. He concealed his service with the Lubomyl militia during the war. The district court found: "In his CM/1 personal-history form, the defendant intentionally misrepresented and/or concealed his residence in Lubomyl and his employment with the town government there during the German occupation." 571 F.Supp. at 81.

The defendant then took the next step to gain admission to the United States as a permanent resident. For this purpose, he submitted an additional personal history questionnaire, the "fragebogen," together with his IRO documentation, to representatives of the United States Displaced Persons Commission (DPC). After the required investigation, he was duly certified in 1949 as meeting the eligibility requirements of the DPA. He then applied to the vice consul of the United States at Salzburg, Austria, and on December 29, 1949, he obtained a visa for admission to the United States for permanent residence. His petition for naturalization was granted on November 30, 1960, and he was admitted to citizenship.

The fragebogen opened with the admonition that "all questions must be answered and all information must be complete" and concluded with Kowalchuk's signature and his attestation that "if it is found to be untrue, incomplete, or misleading in any point, I may be denied entry into the United States."

Kowalchuk's responses to the fragebogen were false and misleading in the following respects: (1) Kowalchuk concealed his membership in the Ukrainian schutzmannschaft by falsely stating that he was a tailor's assistant in Kremianec from 1939 to 1944. (2) He concealed his residence in Lubomyl by falsely stating that he had lived in Kremianec from 1939 to 1944. (3) He only listed attendance at a trade school in Chelm, Poland, between 1936 and 1939 and concealed the fact that he was sent, as he now claims, for special schooling in 1942 and 1943 by the Nazi-controlled...

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