The US on Saturday deported a 95-year-old former Nazi focus camp guard to Germany, the Justice Division mentioned.
The deportation of Friedrich Karl Berger, who had been dwelling in Tennessee, was “probably the final” such US expulsion of a former Nazi, given the dwindling variety of battle survivors, one US official mentioned.
Berger, who had retained German citizenship, was deported for participating in “Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution” whereas serving as an armed guard on the Neuengamme focus camp system in 1945, the division mentioned.
Berger’s deportation demonstrated “that the USA shouldn’t be a protected haven for many who have participated in Nazi crimes towards humanity,” Appearing Lawyer Basic Monty Wilkinson mentioned in an announcement.
The Justice Division drew proof from each US and European archives, “together with information of the historic trial at Nuremberg of probably the most infamous former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime,” Wilkinson mentioned.
This 12 months marks the seventy fifth anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, by which jurists from the Allied powers tried outstanding Nazis underneath worldwide regulation. Twelve defendants acquired loss of life sentences and have been hanged.
The deportation of Berger, who had lived within the US since 1959, was first ordered in March of final 12 months by a US immigration choose.
As a younger man, he had been stationed at a subcamp close to Meppen, Germany, the place prisoners have been held in “atrocious” situations and labored “to the purpose of exhaustion and loss of life,” Choose Rebecca Holt mentioned on the time.
Prisoners within the huge camp system included “Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians, and political opponents” of the Nazis,” in accordance with the Justice Division.
Greater than 40,000 prisoners died within the Neuengamme system, information present.
Holt’s opinion adopted a two-day trial by which Berger admitted he had prevented prisoners from fleeing the Meppen camp throughout their prolonged workdays or whereas shifting to and from the SS-run camp.
The courtroom additionally discovered that in March 1945, as British and Canadian forces have been advancing, Berger helped guard the prisoners as they have been forcibly evacuated underneath inhumane situations that resulted within the deaths of some 70 prisoners.
“That is ridiculous”
Berger mentioned he didn’t know prisoners had been badly handled and that some had died.
In an interview final 12 months with The Washington Publish, he expressed disbelief on the chance he is perhaps deported, saying he was solely 19 years previous whereas serving at Meppen, was unarmed, and was following orders.
“After 75 years, that is ridiculous,” he advised the Publish. “I can not perceive how this may occur in a rustic like this.”
However he had by no means requested a switch from the camp and he later acquired a German pension primarily based partly on his wartime service, the Justice Division mentioned.
Berger was flown to Germany on Saturday and arrived in Frankfurt, the place he will likely be questioned, the Celle prosecutor’s workplace mentioned.
It was not instantly clear if he will likely be placed on trial. Prosecutors in Germany dropped expenses towards Berger in December 2020, citing inadequate proof.
But when he’s prepared to talk about the accusations towards him the case could possibly be revived.
In 1979, the US authorities created the Justice Division Workplace of Particular Investigations devoted to discovering Nazis. The division mentioned Saturday that this system had received circumstances towards 109 people.
The final deportation was of 95-year-old former SS guard Jakiw Palij, who had lived in New York since 1949 and was expelled in August 2018.
Friedrich Berger’s case was “probably the final” in the USA, Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Division program, advised UKTN final 12 months.
For prosecutors of such circumstances, he added, “the most important enemy … is time.”
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