Skip to content
US expels 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard

Friedrich Karl Berger, a 95-year-old German citizen, was deported from the United States in February 2020, when a US immigration judge determined that his “voluntary service” as the guard of concentration camp prisoners ” was an aid to the persecution sponsored by the Nazis, “the Justice Department said.
Berger was eligible to be deported from the United States under the Holtzman Amendment, which prohibits anyone who participated in Nazi persecution from living in the United States. The Immigration Appeal Board upheld the decision in November 2020.

Berger’s trial revealed that he had worked as an armed guard at a Neuengamme subcamp near Meppen, Germany, in 1945. Most of the prisoners were Russian, Dutch and Polish civilians, but there were also Jews, Danes, Latvians, French, Italians. and the Nazi “political opponents”, according to the statement from the Ministry of Justice.

The court found Berger admitted that he was guarding the prisoners to prevent their escape and that he had not requested a transfer of the camp’s guard service, according to the Justice Department. In addition, Berger still receives a pension from Germany for his employment there, including his “war service”.

An attorney for Berger declined to comment on behalf of his client when contacted by CNN on Saturday.

After his 2020 trial, Berger, then 94, told the Washington Post that much of the case was based on “lies,” saying, “I was 19. I was ordered to go ”. He also said he was only at the camp for a short time and denied carrying a weapon.

“After 75 years, it’s ridiculous. I can’t believe it,” he said. “I can’t understand how this can happen in a country like this. You are forcing me out of my house.”

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

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the convictions of the Nazis in Nuremberg, Wilkinson added. Berger’s case “shows that the passage of even several decades will not deter the Department from pursuing justice on behalf of victims of Nazi crimes.”

During Berger’s two-day trial last February, the judge determined that the camp’s prisoners were being held in “atrocious” conditions during the winter of 1945, the Justice Department statement said. The prisoners were forced to work outside “to the point of exhaustion and death”.

The Nazis abandoned Meppen at the end of March 1945 as Allied British and Canadian forces advanced. Berger then helped guard the prisoners as they were evacuated to the main camp at Neuengamme. The ordeal lasted for nearly two weeks, the Justice Department said, and around 70 prisoners died from “inhumane conditions.”

The Justice Department said Berger was the 70th Nazi persecutor deported from the United States.

Acting United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson said in a statement that the United States is committed to ensuring that the country “does not serve as a safe haven for violators human rights and war criminals “.

“This case illustrates the unwavering dedication of the ICE and the Department of Justice to seeking justice and relentlessly hunting down those who participated in one of the greatest atrocities in history, no matter how long it takes.” Johnson said.

CNN’s Jay Croft and Christina MAxouris contributed to this report.


Source link