The US authorities have deported a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard to Germany.
According to authorities, Friedrich Karl Berger landed in his native Germany on Saturday and he has been detained by the police for questioning.
Berger, who served as a guard of a Neuengamme concentration camp subcamp near Hamburg in 1945, was deported for taking part in the “atrocious” imprisonment and killings of several people.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement that the case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“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 concentration camps,” said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson.
He had been living in the US since 1959.
German authorities confirmed Berger arrived Saturday at Frankfurt and was handed over to Hesse state investigators for questioning.
Berger was ordered expelled by a Memphis, Tennessee, court in February 2020 but he will not face trial in Germany because prosecutors dropped the case against him for lack of evidence.
German prosecutors in the city of Celle investigated the possibility of bringing charges against him, but said in December that they had shelved the probe because they had been unable to refute his own account of his service at Neuengamme.
Berger has admitted serving as a guard for a few weeks near the end of the war but has said he did not observe any abuse or killings.
Celle prosecutors asked for him to be questioned again upon his return to Germany, however, to determine whether accessory to murder charges could be brought, police said.
Recently, German prosecutors have insisted that a security guard in a death camp or concentration camp is as guilty as those carrying out the killings.
According to an ICE statement, Berger served at the subcamp near Meppen, Germany, where prisoners – Russian, Polish, Dutch, Jewish and others – were held in “atrocious” conditions and were worked “to the point of exhaustion and death.”
Berger admitted that he guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping. He also accompanied prisoners on the forced evacuation of the camp that resulted in the deaths of 70 prisoners.