The Info List - Konrāds Kalējs

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Konrāds Kalējs (26 June 1913 – 8 November 2001)[1] was a Latvian soldier who was a Nazi collaborator and an alleged war criminal during World War II. He gained notoriety for evading calls for his prosecution across four countries, more than once under the threat of deportation.


1 Early life 2 Activities under Nazi occupation 3 Life after World War II 4 U.S. visa revoked 5 Deportation and last years 6 References

Early life[edit] Kalējs was born in Riga, Latvia, Tsarist Russia, in 1913. In 1935 he joined the Latvian army as a cadet, and attained the rank of lieutenant four years later.[2] Activities under Nazi occupation[edit] In 1941, following the German invasion of Latvia
as part of Operation Barbarossa, Kalējs deserted the Red Army
Red Army
( Latvia
by that stage having been occupied by the Soviet Union) and became a member of the Nazi-controlled Latvian security police.[1] Kalējs would later assert that he worked as a farmhand during this period.[2] It was common practice in occupied nations for indigenous security forces to act in support of German military and security forces in the collection, interrogation, and transport of "undesirables"; such as Jews, Roma, Communists
and partisans.[citation needed] Life after World War II[edit] At the end of the war Kalējs moved to Denmark. In 1950 he emigrated to Australia, where he was employed at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre in north-east Victoria.[1] Becoming an Australian citizen in 1957, Kalējs later left for the United States
United States
in 1959 for a lucrative career in property development.[1] U.S. visa revoked[edit] In 1984, Kalējs' Nazi connections were revealed, and he was arrested the following year after walking into the Puño Airlines
Puño Airlines
sting operation.[3] After a four-year process, a United States
United States
court revoked Kalējs' visa, having found that there was "unequivocal evidence" that he had participated in war crimes in Latvia, although as an Australian citizen Kalējs was not prosecuted.[1] The United States
United States
Department of Justice alleged that between July 1941 and June or July 1944, Kalējs was a company commander in the notorious Arajs Kommando (Sonderkommando Arajs), one of several security police units which assisted the Einsatzgruppen
death squads in killing Jews
and Roma in Latvia, and in guarding the Salaspils concentration camp.[2] According to renowned Holocaust
scholar Raul Hilberg, who gave evidence during the American proceedings against Kalējs, German documents established that the Einsatzkommando, the Arajs Kommando
Arajs Kommando
and similar groups were responsible for killing about 29,000 people (including about 26,000 Jews) by August 1941 and a further 27,800 Jews near Riga by the end of 1941 (the Arajs Kommando
Arajs Kommando
were responsible for about half of this total).[2] Deportation and last years[edit] Kalējs was deported from the United States
United States
to Australia
after a six-year-long appeals process, and then moved to Canada, where in 1997 he was once again deported to Australia
after a court again revoked his visa, finding that he had "committed war crimes" as a collaborator.[1] In 1999, Kalējs left Australia
for the United Kingdom, where he settled in Catthorpe, Leicestershire, staying at Catthorpe
Manor, a nursing home run by the Latvian Welfare Fund.[2] After being discovered, then Home Secretary
Home Secretary
Jack Straw
Jack Straw
announced that moves would be made to deport Kalējs, at which point he returned to Australia.[1] The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had uncovered Kalējs' presence in Catthorpe, criticised Straw's decision: a spokesperson labelled it a "missed opportunity" to prosecute him, and warned that "if he returns to Australia
he will benefit from the country's lax attitude towards Nazi war criminals."[4] Latvian authorities finally charged Kalējs with war crimes offences in September 2000, relating to his participation at the Salaspils labour camp, and in May 2001 a Melbourne
court ordered Kalējs' extradition to Latvia.[1] Kalējs appealed this decision, and the ensuing proceedings were delayed by illness, with Kalējs reportedly suffering from dementia and prostate cancer at the time. His lawyers claimed he was blind and had lost his memory.[5] Kalējs died in Melbourne
in November 2001, aged 88. His lawyers criticised the government of Australia
for being "inhumane and callous in its bid to extradite a sick old man" and described the process as a "witch hunt".[6] Kalējs eventually admitted to working for the Nazi-run Latvian police in his last Australian interview.[1] References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i Barkham, Patrick (12 November 2001). "Obituary: Konrāds Kalējs". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-09-10.  ^ a b c d e "Konrāds Kalējs: Target for Nazi hunters". BBC. 2000-01-03. Retrieved 2007-09-17.  ^ Turner Publishing, "Retired US Marshals Association", p. 25 ^ "Nazi suspect set to leave". BBC. January 3, 2000. Retrieved 2007-09-20.  ^ "Nazi suspect can be extradited". BBC. 29 May 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-20.  ^ Alleged Latvian War Criminal Dies in Australia

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Jewish people of Latvia Gypsies Joseph Carlebach Simon Dubnow Else Hirsch


Alois Brunner Rudolf Batz Fritz Dietrich Otto-Heinrich Drechsler Erich Ehrlinger Karl Jäger Friedrich Jeckeln Heinz Jost Konrāds Kalējs Ernst Kaltenbrunner Wolfgang Kügler Rudolf Lange Hinrich Lohse Friedrich Panzinger Hans-Adolf Prützmann Eduard Roschmann Alfred Rosenberg Martin Sandberger Albert Sauer Rudolf Joachim Seck Franz Walter Stahlecker Eduard Strauch

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Individuals Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs Kārlis Lobe

Organizations Arajs Kommando Latvian Auxiliary Police Schutzmannschaft

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Righteous Among the Nations

Jānis Lipke Roberts Sedols


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