A 95-year-old German citizen who was a guard at a Nazi concentration camp and lived in the United States was deported to Germany on Saturday, the Justice Department said.
Friedrich Karl Berger, who lived in the state of Tennessee and had German citizenship, was deported to be an armed guard at Neuengamme concentration camp in 1945, the department said.
Berger was expelled for participating in “acts of persecution promoted by the Nazis,” the judicial authorities added.
“Berger’s deportation demonstrates the Department of Justice and authorities’ commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe place for those who participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other rights violations humans, ”Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said.
An immigration judge ordered the deportation of Berger, who has lived in the United States since 1959, in March of last year.
Berger was stationed near Meppen, Germany during World War II, where prisoners were held in “atrocious” conditions and worked “to the death,” Judge Rebecca Holt said in her ruling.
At trial, Berger admitted that he had prevented the prisoners from escaping from the Neuengamme concentration camp. He also said he was unaware that the prisoners were mistreated and that some had died. He made sure to follow orders.
Justice also concluded that in March 1945, in the face of advancing British and Canadian forces, Berger had helped keep the prisoners under surveillance while they were forcibly evacuated in inhumane conditions. At least 70 people have died.
Among the prisoners were “Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Germans, Latvians, French, Italians and political opponents” of the Nazis, the US attorney general said.
More than 40,000 prisoners died in the Neuengamme concentration camp, according to historical records.
Berger flew to Germany on Saturday and landed in Frankfurt, where he will be questioned. It is not yet known whether he will be tried in his country of origin. The German court dropped the case against Berger in December 2020, citing insufficient evidence.
The US Department of Justice has collected evidence from US and European archives, “including the archives of the historic Nuremberg trial”.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, during which jurists from allied countries, victorious in World War II, brought to justice the main figures of the Nazi regime under international law. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death.