TENNESSEE (WATE) – A Tennessee resident was returned to Germany on Saturday for participating in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving as an armed guard in a concentration camp in 1945, according to the US Department of Justice .
Tennessee man ordered to return to Germany after serving as a Nazi guard in World War II
Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, who lived in Oak Ridge, becomes the 70th Nazi persecutor to be deported from the United States after being ordered to be deported due to his participation in Nazi Germany in 1945 as a armed guard of concentration. camp prisoners in the Neuengamme concentration camp system.
Shepherds’ withdrawal demonstrates the commitment of the Judicial Department and its law enforcement partners to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights violations, said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. evidence our Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section found in archives here and in Europe, including records of the historic Nuremberg trial of the most notorious former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime. In this year in which we mark the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Sentences, this case shows that the passage of decades will not deter the Department from seeking justice on behalf of victims of Nazi crimes.
We are determined to ensure that the United States does not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals, said ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson. We will never stop pursuing those who persecute others. This case illustrates the unwavering dedication of the ICE and the Department of Justice to seeking justice and relentlessly seeking out those who participated in one of the greatest atrocities in history, no matter how long it takes.
Release from the United States Department of Justice
In November 2020, the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld a ruling by immigration judges in Memphis, Tennessee on February 28, 2020 that Berger was revocable under the 1978 Holtzman Amendment to the Immigration Act and nationality by virtue of his voluntary service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where the persecution took place was an aid to the persecution sponsored by the Nazis. The court found that Berger served in a Neuengamme subcamp near Meppen, Germany, and that the prisoners there included Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians and political opponents of the Nazis. The largest groups of prisoners were Russian, Dutch and Polish civilians.
After a two-day trial in February 2020, the presiding judge issued an opinion concluding that the Meppen prisoners had been held during the winter of 1945 in atrocious conditions and were being exploited for forced labor in the open air, working until to exhaustion and death. The court further found, and Berger admitted, that he was guarding the prisoners to prevent them from escaping during their working day from dawn to dusk, on their way to work and on their way home. in the sub-camp managed by the SS in the evening.
At the end of March 1945, as Allied British and Canadian forces advanced, the Nazis abandoned Meppen. The court found that Berger had helped keep the prisoners during their forced evacuation to the main camp at Neuengamme, a nearly two-week journey in inhumane conditions that claimed the lives of some 70 prisoners. The ruling also cited Shepherds’ admission that he had never requested a transfer from the concentration camp guard service and that he continued to receive a pension from Germany due to his employment in Germany, including of his war service.
In 1946, the British occupation authorities in Germany charged SS ObersturmfhrerHans Griem, who had led the Meppen subcamps, and other Meppen staff members of war crimes for mistreatment and murder of Allied nationals. Although Griem escaped before his trial, the UK court tried and convicted others accused of war crimes in 1947.
The trial and appeal of the referral case were handled by Eli Rosenbaum, Director of Human Rights Enforcement and Policy in the Criminal Divisions Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section ( HRSP), HRSP Senior Counsel, Susan Masling, and Counsel for ICE New Orleans, Office of the Senior Legal Counsel (Memphis), with the assistance of HRSP Chief Historian Jeffrey S. Richter. Daniel I. Smulow, Senior National Security Lawyer in the Justice Department, Civil Division, Immigration Litigation Office, participated in the litigation of Shepherds’ appeal. the survey was initiated by HRSP and conducted in partnership with the HSI office in Nashville.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson expressed his gratitude for the assistance provided by the FBI, our German colleagues and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Since the launch in 1979 of the justice departments’ program to detect, investigate and remove Nazi persecutors, it has won cases against 109 people. Over the past 30 years, the Justice Department has won more cases against those involved in the Nazi persecution than law enforcement authorities in every other country in the world combined. The HRSP case against Berger was part of its continued efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals who have engaged in genocide, torture, war crimes, recruiting or using child soldiers, female genital mutilation and other serious human rights violations. HRSP lawyers pursued the first torture case brought in the United States and successfully prosecuted perpetrators of human rights violations in Guatemala, Ethiopia, Liberia, Cuba and the United States. ex-Yugoslavia, among others.
This removal was supported by CIE Enforcement and Elimination Operations and the Office of the Senior Legal Adviser as well as the Center for Human Rights Violations and War Crimes (HRVWCC).
The HRVWCC is made up of the HSI Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit, ICEs Human Rights Law Division, FBIs International Human Rights Unit, and HRSP. United States, including those known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. The HRVWCC draws on the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who are leading the government’s broader enforcement efforts against these delinquents.
To learn more about HRSP, visit https://www.justice.gov/criminal-hrsp.
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