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. (January 2013)
Karl Linnas (6 August 1919 – 2 July 1987) was an Estonian who was sentenced to capital punishment during the Holocaust trials in Soviet Estonia in 1961–1962. He was later deported from the United States to the Soviet Union in 1987.
Linnas was tried in absentia and sentenced to death by a Soviet court in 1962 on charges that during the German occupation, between 1941 and 1943, he was the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp at Tartu and had personally shot innocent civilians—men, women and children. After Soviet armies forced the Germans out of Estonia, Linnas fought with the German army and was wounded in 1944. Then he stayed in Displaced Persons camps in Germany until emigrating to the U.S. in 1951.
Deportation from the United States
Linnas worked as a land surveyor living in Greenlawn, New York until 1979, when U.S. immigration officials charged him with making false statements to gain entry to the United States.
The Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Justice Department prosecuted Linneas. In 1981, the Federal District Court in Westbury, New York, stripped Linnas of his American citizenship for having lied to immigration officials 30 years earlier about his Nazi past. Linnas' crimes, the judge said, "were such as to offend the decency of any civilized society." A 1986 federal appeals court upheld the order for his deportation, ruling that the evidence against the defendant was "overwhelming and largely uncontroverted."
On 20 April 1987, the Supreme Court refused to hear a final appeal. At that point, Linnas was flown to the Soviet Union, and almost three months later died in a prison hospital in Leningrad while awaiting trial (2 July 1987). Linnas became the second formerly naturalized American to be sent to the Soviet Union to face a pending death sentence, after Feodor Fedorenko, whose execution occurred in 1987, the same year of Linnas' deportation.