Monday, May 9 was Victory Day.  Celebrated throughout Eastern Europe, it marks the Nazi surrender to the army of the Soviet Union.  There is nothing in the archive that specifically covers Victory Day, but to honor this day we are sharing the story of Tony DeVito, who worked to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, and Howard Blum, the author of his story.

Defendants at the dock during the Nuremberg Trials, 1945 or 1946

Defendants at the dock during the Nuremberg Trials, 1945 or 1946

Tscherim “Tom” Soobzokov, Valerian Trifa, Andrija Artukovic, and Boleslavs Maikovskis were living stable, successful lives in the United States in 1976.  That same year, investigative journalist Howard Blum published his book Wanted: The Search for Nazis in America, (read a 1977 review here), exposing the men as war criminals.  During the course of the interview with Terkel, Blum explains that although he was enlightening the general public on the men’s histories, a hearing for Trifa had been scheduled in 1975 (and never followed up on), and in 1965 an investigation into Mailvoskis was begun, only to be terminated.

Blum’s book looks at these four case studies, all men pursued by former INS investigator Tony DeVito.  DeVito was a WWII veteran and had seen first-hand the death and destruction of Nazi concentration camps. Through his position at the INS, he investigated these men and others who “engaged in and advocated genocide, people who have committed crimes against humanity.”  He encountered missing files, difficulties in bringing European witnesses to the United States, and threatening phone calls to his unlisted number.

Blum explains that once WWII was over, America’s new great enemy was Communism, and allowing Nazi collaborators to live in the United States was one of the compromises made by the Department of Defense and the CIA in the name of fighting Communism.

DeVito had retired from the INS by the time Blum talks with Studs.  He was only 52, but did not want to be a party to what he saw as a corrupt system.

Soobsokov was killed in 1985 by a pipe bomb explosion on his front porch.

Trifa was deported in 1984 and died of a heart attack in 1987.

Artukovic was extradited to Yugoslavia in 1986 and condemned to death.  He died in prison in 1988.

Maikovskis fled the United States in 1987 and died in 1996.


Photo credit: By Nuremberg-1-.jpg: English: Work of the United States Government  derivative work: Beao (Nuremberg-1-.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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