|dc.description.abstract||In the period following the end of World War II, an unknown number of collaborators with the Nazi regime immigrated to the United States from Europe. This included active perpetrators of the Holocaust, around 200 of which are known or suspected, and fewer of which have been subject to investigation and prosecution for immigration fraud by the US government.
Most publications, academic and otherwise, on the topic of immigrant Holocaust perpetrators in the post-war US have focused heavily on perpetrators’ lives significantly pre- and post-immigration, and have rarely considered the symbiotic relationship which existed between their Holocaust perpetration and their immigration. This has created inaccuracies and lacunae within social conceptions of immigrant Holocaust perpetrators, both as individuals and as part of a largely uncoordinated collective.
This thesis presents a novel framework and significant contribution to the field of perpetrator immigration studies, called herein the ‘constructed’ immigration process. It posits that this process was unique to perpetrators of significant, otherwise immigration-disqualifying crimes. Each decision made by Holocaust perpetrators within the constructed process was built upon foundations laid by past falsehoods, creating an experience of perpetual precarity. Thus, for Holocaust perpetrators, the US immigration process was never truly ‘complete,’ as their successful immigration was reliant on sustained concealment of their role in the Holocaust. As such, they were always at risk of being discovered and facing prosecution or having their US citizenship or residency revoked. In order to combat this, perpetrators created new pre-immigration identities devoid of Holocaust perpetration and continuously maintained these identities and their claimed innocence for the rest of their lives. The existence of observable patterns in the experiences of immigrant perpetrators suggest that they made calculated and calculable choices in order to ensure their success. These findings offer new, more expansive understandings of both immigration and Holocaust perpetration as continual experiences rather than time-limited events.
The thesis is centred around a database tracking the immigration of 147 men and women either proven to have been Holocaust perpetrators or of whom perpetration is strongly suspected, beginning with their experiences of post-war displacement and following them through their post-resettlement lives in the US. It assesses their interactions with both formal and informal aspects of the immigration process, including displacement, sponsorship arrangements, occupations, and post-resettlement community integration, and establishes the role of individual strategy within these interactions. Arguments within the thesis have been drawn from a variety of sources, including court cases, legislative materials, government-produced publications and unpublished documents, news articles, photographs, oral history testimonies, and personal archival documents. Data on the experiences of non-perpetrator immigrants and Holocaust survivors is also compared to that of immigrant perpetrators in order to accurately determine the unique role of perpetration within the post-war immigration process. In each area of inquiry, perpetrators’ individual agency is prioritised, rather than complying with prevailing trends which have employed top-down, governance-focused analyses of perpetrator immigration.||en