A 95-year-old man has been deported from the US to Germany after admitting working as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen who has been living in America since 1959, participated in “Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution” and has been expelled from the country following an investigation, the US Department of Justice said.
His removal was ordered by a court in Memphis, Tennessee, authorities said, and upheld by the US Board of Immigration Appeals.
However, after arriving at Frankfurt airport he will not face trial in Germany because prosecutors there dropped the case against him over a lack of evidence.
The US immigration and customs enforcement agency (ICE) said Berger worked as a guard at a Neuengamme concentration camp sub-camp near Hamburg.
Russian, Polish, Dutch, Jewish and other prisoners at the sub-camp near Meppen, in northwest Germany, close to the border with the Netherlands, were held in “atrocious” conditions and worked to the point of exhaustion and death, an ICE statement said.
Berger accompanied prisoners on the forced evacuation of the camp that resulted in the deaths of 70 prisoners, according to authorities.
He admitted serving as a guard for a few weeks near the end of the war, but said he did not observe any abuse or killings, the German news agency dpa reported.
In a statement, acting US Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said: “Berger’s removal demonstrates the Department of Justice’s and its law enforcement partners’ commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safehaven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses.
“The Department marshalled evidence that our human rights and special prosecutions section found in archives here and in Europe, including records of the historic trial at Nuremberg of the most notorious former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime.
“In this year in which we mark the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg convictions, this case shows that the passage even of many decades will not deter the department from pursuing justice on behalf of the victims of Nazi crimes.”
Berger is the 70th Nazi persecutor to be removed from the US, the justice department said.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in the German town of Celle said police had been asked to question him on his return.
However, a police spokesman said there is no live investigation linked to him and he has not been taken in custody.
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