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The BBC's Jon Silverman
"He denies the allegations against him"
 real 28k

Lord Janner
"If he's guilty of war crimes we don't want him in our country either"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 December, 1999, 03:28 GMT
'War criminal' in nursing home

Police are investigating claims Konrad Kalejs is in the Catthorpe home

Police are trying to establish the identity of a man living in a UK nursing home who is alleged to be a Nazi war criminal.

The Israel-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC), which campaigns for justice for holocaust victims, says it has traced Konrad Kalejs to the UK.

Konrad Kalejs: Deported from the US
Mr Kalejs, originally from Latvia, is alleged to have murdered tens of thousands of Jews when he was a Nazi commander in the Baltic country.

Mr Kalejs has always denied the accusations, and claimed he was a student during the war.

He has already been expelled from the US and Canada over the allegations.

He was initially believed to be in Rugby, Warwickshire, but it is now thought he is living in a nursing home in Catthorpe, Leicestershire.

Leicestershire Police are conducting enquiries to establish the identity of the man against whom the allegations have been made.

The investigation was handed over to the Leicestershire force after SWC director Dr Efraim Zuroff contacted Warwickshire Police to demand they launch an urgent inquiry.

"We urge you to take immediate action so that this mass murderer will not continue to enjoy the undeserved hospitality of the United Kingdom," he said.

Claims denied

Now 86, Mr Kalejs is alleged to have been an officer in the savage Latvian Auxiliary Security Police, known during World War II as the Arajs Kommando.

At least 30,000 Jews were murdered by the force, led by Viktors Arajs, who was jailed for life in Hamburg in 1979 for war crimes including murder.

Mr Kalejs is also alleged to have worked as a guard at the Salaspils concentration camp near the Latvian capital, Riga, where other murders were committed.

Mr Kalejs moved to Australia after the war, where he obtained citizenship in 1957.

He then moved to America, but was deported in 1994 after the allegations became public.

He subsequently moved to Canada, where he lived for three years.

He was deported back to Australia in August 1997.

The focus of much media attention there, he escaped conviction last year when a court considered the evidence against him insufficient.

Investigation demanded

He is thought to have left the country in July 1998 and moved to England with his common-law wife.

Former Labour MP Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said he would ask Home Secretary Jack Straw to investigate the allegations against Mr Kalejs.

And he said that if there was sufficient evidence, Mr Kalejs should be prosecuted under war crimes legislation.

If there was not enough evidence for a prosecution, the government should follow the example of the United States and Canada and deport him, he said.

"They only do that if they are sufficiently satisfied that a person is guilty of war crimes. They don't want him in their country. If that is correct, we don't want him in our country either," Lord Janner told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Labour MP Robin Corbett, said it was "very regrettable" that Kalejs's details had not been passed to the British authorities before he arrived in the country.

He said: "It is quite astonishing. Given that action in the courts was taken against him in the United States and the Australian war crimes unit also looked at allegations against him, I am surprised that at least this information wasn't given to Interpol and therefore available to every country."

A Home Office spokeswoman said the immigration service would look very closely at the allegations, "and co-operate closely with police if that became appropriate".

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See also:
28 Dec 99 |  UK
Simon Wiesenthal: Nazi-hunter
13 Oct 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Trial and retribution
01 Apr 99 |  UK
Life for war criminal
14 Dec 97 |  World
Canada hires Nazi hunter
13 Oct 99 |  Wales
No charges after war crimes inquiry

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