US deports 95-year-old Nazi concentration camp guard

US deports 95-year-old Nazi concentration camp guard
© getty:The railway tracks leading to the main gates at Auschwitz II - Birkenau

A 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard was deported from Tennessee to Germany, authorities said Saturday.

Friedrich Karl Berger, who is a German citizen, was ordered to be removed from the U.S. in February of last year due to his participation in “Nazi-sponsored persecution” while guarding prisoners at a concentration camp in the Neuengamme concentration camp system in 1945, according to a statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Berger was a guard at a Neuengamme subcamp near Meppen, Germany, where prisoners were held during the winter of 1945. During a two-day trial last February, Berger admitted to guarding prisoners in order to prevent them from escaping.

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After the trial, an immigration judge in Memphis, Tenn., found that prisoners at the camp were held in “atrocious” conditions during the winter of 1945 and were forced to work “to the point of exhaustion and death.” 

Berger helped guard prisoners when Nazis abandoned the camp at the end of March 1945 because allied British and Canadian troops advanced, ICE said. The nearly two-week trip resulted in 70 deaths.

The decision also noted that he still receives a pension from Germany based on his employment for the country, “including his wartime service.”

According to the Department of Justice, Berger is the 70th Nazi persecutor removed from the United States.

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said in a statement that Berger’s removal “demonstrates the Department of Justice’s and its law enforcement partners’ commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses.”

“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,” the statement said.