Former Nazi guard agrees to be questioned by German prosecutors

95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard deported from Tennessee agrees to be questioned by German prosecutors.

Elad Benari ,

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A 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard deported from Tennessee has agreed to be questioned by German prosecutors as they re-examine whether there is enough evidence against him to bring charges, authorities said Monday, according to The Associated Press.

The former guard, Friedrich Karl Berger, arrived in Frankfurt on Saturday on a special flight from the US after being ordered deported to his native Germany by a court in Memphis last year.

He was met by Hesse state police detectives at the airport and told them he would be willing to be questioned by investigators with a lawyer present, said Bernd Kolkmeier, spokesman for the Celle prosecutor's office, which is handling the case.

A US immigration judge ordered Berger deported a year ago after finding that his "willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place" constituted assistance in Nazi-sponsored persecution.

The court found that Berger, who had been living in the US since 1959, had served at a camp in Meppen, near the border with the Netherlands, which was a subcamp of the larger Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

Berger admitted to American investigators that he served in Meppen as a guard for a few weeks near the end of the war but said he did not observe any abuse or killings. The Memphis court found, however, that Berger had helped guard prisoners during a forced evacuation that took nearly two weeks and claimed the lives of 70 people.

Berger was serving in the German Navy when he was assigned to guard prisoners in Meppen in 1945, according to the Neuengamme Memorial's website.

He served there between January 28, 1945 and April 4, 1945, as an auxiliary attached to the SS command of the camp, according to Celle prosecutors.

His case is the latest that Germany has opened against suspected Nazi war criminals in recent years.

Germany’s crackdown on Nazi war criminals began following the 2011 Munich trial of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi war criminal charged of assisting in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp and sentenced to five years. He died in 2012.

Last year, 93-year-old Stutthof camp guard Bruno Dey was convicted of 5,232 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court, equal to the number of people believed to have been killed at Stutthof during his service there in 1944 and 1945.

Last month, German prosecutors charged a 100-year-old man who allegedly served as a Nazi concentration camp guard where more than 100,000 people were killed during World War II.

Days earlier, Germany charged a former secretary from the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp with complicity in the murders of 10,000 people.

Some of those convicted of Nazi-era war crimes never served their sentences as they passed away before being jailed.

One such convict, Reinhold Hanning, was found guilty of complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz. However, Hanning died at the age of 95 in June of 2017, before he could serve his jail term.

In a similar case, Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, died in March of 2018 before he could begin serving a four-year prison sentence after being convicted for the crime of accessory to the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz.

Last April, a German court dropped a case against 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, Johann Rehbogen, finding him unfit for trial due to illness.



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