KONRāDS KALēJS (26 June 1913 – 8 November 2001) was a Latvian
soldier who was a Nazi collaborator and an alleged war criminal during
World War II
World War II . He gained notoriety for evading calls for his
prosecution across four countries, more than once under the threat of
* 1 Early life
* 2 Activities under Nazi occupation
* 3 Life after
World War II
World War II
* 4 U.S. visa revoked
* 5 Deportation and last years
* 6 References
Kalējs was born in Riga,
Tsarist Russia , in 1913. In 1935
he joined the Latvian army as a cadet, and attained the rank of
lieutenant four years later.
ACTIVITIES UNDER NAZI OCCUPATION
In 1941, following the German invasion of
Latvia as part of Operation
Barbarossa , Kalējs deserted the
Red Army (
Latvia by that stage
having been occupied by the Soviet Union ) and became a member of the
Nazi-controlled Latvian security police. Kalējs would later assert
that he worked as a farmhand during this period. 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 .
LIFE AFTER WORLD WAR II
At the end of the war Kalējs moved to
Denmark . In 1950 he emigrated
Australia , where he was employed at the Bonegilla Migrant
Reception and Training Centre in north-east Victoria . Becoming an
Australian citizen in 1957, Kalējs later left for the United States
in 1959 for a lucrative career in property development.
U.S. VISA REVOKED
In 1984, Kalējs' Nazi connections were revealed, and he was arrested
the following year after walking into the
Puño Airlines sting
After a four-year process, a
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. The
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
Einsatzgruppen death squads in killing
Jews and Roma in
Latvia, and in guarding the
Salaspils concentration camp .
According to renowned
Raul Hilberg , who gave
evidence during the American proceedings against Kalējs, German
documents established that the Einsatzkommando, the
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 were responsible for
about half of this total).
DEPORTATION AND LAST YEARS
Kalējs was deported from the
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
In 1999, Kalējs left
Australia for the
United Kingdom , where he
Leicestershire , staying at
Catthorpe Manor, a
nursing home run by the Latvian Welfare Fund. After being discovered,
Jack Straw announced that moves would be made to
deport Kalējs, at which point he returned to Australia. 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
Australia he will benefit from the country's lax attitude towards
Nazi war criminals."
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. 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.
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". Kalējs eventually admitted to working for the Nazi-run
Latvian police in his last Australian interview.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Barkham, Patrick (12 November 2001).
"Obituary: Konrāds Kalējs".
Guardian Unlimited . Retrieved
* ^ A B C D E "Konrāds Kalējs: Target for Nazi hunters".
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
* ^ "Nazi suspect can be extradited".
BBC . 29 May 2001. Retrieved
* ^ Alleged Latvian War Criminal Dies in Australia
Main article The
Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus
Estonia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia Ukraine
Burning of the Riga synagogues
* Liepāja (Šķēde)
* Jewish people of
* Fritz Dietrich
* Konrāds Kalējs
Rudolf Joachim Seck
Franz Walter Stahlecker
NAZI OCCUPATION AND ORGANIZATIONS
Latvian Auxiliary Police
GHETTOS AND CAMPS
Jungfernhof concentration camp
Kaiserwald concentration camp
Salaspils concentration camp
WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS
* Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission
RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS
* Roberts Sedols
* Occupation of
Latvia by Nazi Germany
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