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German man who served as concentration camp guard extradited from US

A German citizen who served as a concentration camp guard in 1945 is to be extradited from the US...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.59 5 Mar 2020


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German man who served as conce...

German man who served as concentration camp guard extradited from US

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.59 5 Mar 2020


Share this article


A German citizen who served as a concentration camp guard in 1945 is to be extradited from the US.

The US Department of Justice says Tennessee resident Friedrich Karl Berger was an armed guard in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp system.

After a two-day trial, Judge Rebecca L Holt issued an opinion finding Berger removable under the 1978 Holtzman Amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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She said this was because of his "willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place".

The court found that Berger served at a Neuengamme sub-camp near Meppen in 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.

Judge Holt found that Meppen prisoners were held during the winter of 1945 in "atrocious" conditions and were exploited for outdoor forced labour, working "to the point of exhaustion and death."

The court further found, and Berger admitted, that he guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping during the workday, on their way to the worksites and also on their way back to the subcamp in the evening.

At the end of March 1945, with the advance of British and Canadian forces, the Nazis abandoned Meppen.

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 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 there, "including his wartime service."

US Assistant Attorney-General Brian Benczkowski said: "Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement.

"This ruling shows the department's continued commitment to obtaining a measure of justice, however late, for the victims of wartime Nazi persecution."

In 1946, British occupation authorities in Germany charged SS Obersturmf├╝hrer Hans Griem, who had headed the Meppen sub-camps, and other Meppen personnel with war crimes for ""ill-treatment and murder of Allied nationals."

Although Griem escaped before trial, the British court tried and convicted the three remaining defendants of war crimes in 1947.

Since the 1979 inception of the US Justice Department's program to detect and remove Nazi persecutors, it has won cases against 109 individuals.


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Brian Benczkowski Concentration Camp Concentration Camp Guard Friedrich Karl Berger German Citizen Germany Judge Rebecca L Holt Nazi Germany Neuengamme Tennessee Resident US Justice Department

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