- US Immigration Judge Rebecca L. Holt ruled that 94-year-old Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen and former Nazi camp guard, would be deported.
- Berger served as an armed guard at a sub-camp of Neuengamme near Meppen, Germany, where more than 42,900 people were killed during World War II.
- Berger still receives a pension from Germany because he was a government employee.
- It remains unclear if Berger will be prosecuted in Germany.
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A 94-year-old former Nazi camp guard who’s living in Tennessee will be deported back to Germany, a judge ruled on Thursday.
The deportation of Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen, was announced by the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During World War II, Berger served as an armed guard at a sub-camp of Neuengamme near Meppen, Germany, where prisoners included “Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians, and political opponents,” according to the Justice Department.
About 100,000 people were imprisoned in the Neuengamme system, and 42,900 were killed, according to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.
US Immigration Judge Rebecca L Holt in Memphis, Tennessee, determined that Berger should be deported after a two-day trial, according to NBC News.
According to his removal order, prisoners were forced to live in “atrocious” conditions in the camps, were exploited for outdoor forced labour, and were worked “to the point of exhaustion and death.”
Berger has admitted to guarding prisoners during the work day and during trips between camps to ensure they did not escape.
He told investigators that after the camp had to be evacuated when British and Canadian forces advanced, he guarded prisoners on a two-week journey during which 70 prisoners died, according to ABC News.
Berger is still a German citizen and continues to receive a pension from the country due to his government employment and “wartime service.” Investigators say Berger never requested a transfer from concentration camp guard service.
“Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement,” Assistant Attorney General Brian 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.”
Since 1979, 109 people have been ordered to leave the US after investigations found they had assisted Nazis.
Berger’s case “was part of its ongoing efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals who engaged in genocide, torture, war crimes, recruitment or use of child soldiers, female genital mutilation, and other serious human rights violations,” the Department of Justice said.
It remains unclear if German authorities will seek to prosecute Berger.
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