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Judge Orders Deportation of Former Nazi Camp Guard

[additional-authors]
March 5, 2020
Photo from Pixabay.

On March 5, a federal judge ordered a former Nazi concentration camp guard to be deported.

A Department of Justice press release states Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt concluded Friedrich Karl Berger, who has been living in the United States since 1959, served as a guard in the Neuengamme sub-concentration camp in Germany.

“The court found that Berger helped guard the prisoners during their forcible evacuation to the Neuengamme main camp – a nearly two-week trip under inhumane conditions, which claimed the lives of some 70 prisoners,” the press release states. “The decision also cited Berger’s admission that he never requested a transfer from concentration camp guard service and that he continues to receive a pension from Germany based on his employment in Germany, ‘including his wartime service.’ ”

Holt found Berger’s role as a guard put him in violation of the 1978 Holtzman Amendment of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which made it a crime for an immigrant to have provided support to the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement,” Department of Justice Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement. “This ruling shows the Department’s continued commitment to obtaining a measure of justice, however late, for the victims of wartime Nazi persecution.”

Berger admitted to serving as a guard in the camp and that he never asked for a transfer. He currently resides in Tennessee.

Jewish groups praised the pending deportation. “We welcome @TheJusticeDept removing this Nazi concentration camp guard from the US. We are grateful that our nation is still working to find & remove Nazi War Criminals, and we appreciate this measure of justice for #Holocaust victims,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted.

The Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog similarly tweeted, “We applaud the decision of U.S. Immigration Judge Rebecca L. Holt to deport German #nazi Friedrich Karl Berger. While living in America, Berger was still receiving a German pension for his wartime efforts (i.e. overseeing the death of thousands).”

In August 2018, former concentration camp guard Jakiw Palij was deported from New York to Germany; Palij died at the age of 95 the following January.

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