United States deports 95-year-old Nazi concentration camp guard

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 20, 2021

According to the Department of Justice, Berger is the 70th Nazi persecutor removed from the United States.

A 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard was deported from Tennessee to Germany, authorities said Saturday.

A United States immigration judge ruled in February of previous year that Berger's participation in "Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution" was "willing service" and ordered him removed under the 1978 Holtzman Amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act. "The largest groups of prisoners were Russian, Dutch and Polish civilians", a Saturday release from the Department of Justice explains.

German prosecutors in the city of Celle investigated the possibility of bringing charges against him, but said in December that they had shelved the probe because they had been unable to refute his own account of his service at Neuengamme.

The decision also noted that he still receives a pension from Germany based on his employment for the country, "including his wartime service".

Celle prosecutors asked for him to be questioned again upon his return to Germany, however, to determine whether accessory to murder charges could be brought, police said.

In recent years, German prosecutors have successfully argued that by helping a death camp or concentration camp function, guards can be found guilty of accessory to murder even if there is no evidence of them participating in a specific killing.

DOJ Deports 95-year-old former Nazi camp guard back to Germany
95-year-old Tennessee man who was Nazi guard gets deported to Germany: Feds

The judge found that prisoners at the camp were held during the winter of 1945 in "atrocious" conditions and were made to work outdoors "to the point of exhaustion and death". During a two-day trial last February, Berger admitted to guarding prisoners in order to prevent them from escaping. The ordeal took almost two weeks, the Justice Department said, and about 70 prisoners died from "inhumane conditions".

Berger has been living in the US since 1959. He insisted he was ordered to work at the camp and did not carry a weapon.

He expressed astonishment at his looming deportation, saying "after 75 years, this is ridiculous". I was ordered to go there'.

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said in a statement Berger's deportation "demonstrates the Department of Justice's and its law enforcement partners' commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses".

"We are committed to ensuring the United States will not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals", acting ICE Director Tae Johnson said in a statement. "You're forcing me out of my home".

The Justice Department drew evidence from both United States and European archives, 'including records of the historic trial at Nuremberg of the most notorious former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime, ' Wilkinson said.

The 95-year-old man faces questioning by local police after arriving at Frankfurt airport.

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