Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, was deported from the USA to Germany after authorities discovered he had been a guard in a Nazi concentration camp during the period of World War II.
The man, who previously lived in Tennessee, was deported “for participating in Nazi-driven acts of persecution” while worked as a guard in a concentration camp in 1945, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) advanced on Friday.
The attorney general Monty Wilkinson said in a statement sent to CBS News that Berger’s deportation from the USA demonstrates the “Department’s commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who participated in Nazi crimes against humanity or other human rights abuses”.
“In the year that marks the 75th anniversary of Nuremberg’s convictions, this case shows that the fact that a long time has passed does not prevent the Department from bringing justice to the victims of these crimes,” said Wilkinson.
According to the Justice Department, Berger is not the first person to be deported for these reasons. Previously, 69 people had already been expelled from the USA after discovering its links to Nazi crimes.
In Berger’s case, a trial in 2020 turned out to be the key point for authorities to unravel his past. American authorities have discovered Berger had provided services to the Nazi regime in a Neuengamme subfield, near Meppen, Germany.
At the time, the judge revealed that Meppen’s prisoners, many of whom were Jews, Russians, Dutch and Poles, were held in the camp in the winter of 1945. The conditions were described as “horrible”, since the prisoners were forced to working outdoors “to the point of exhaustion and, consequently, to death”, quoted the DOJ.
According to the Hamburg Foundation for Memorials and Learning Centers, prisoners in this camp were forced to build a so-called “Muro friesen” to protect the north coast of Germany. On the day the camp was evacuated, some 1,773 people were arrested on the spot.
Friedrich Karl Berger worked in the field until it was evacuated in March 1945 and admitted during the trial that he arrested several people and prevented them from fleeing.
To this day, reveals the DOJ, Berger receives a pension from Germany for having rendered the country “war service”.
The US Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Tae Johnson, says the Department “will never stop persecuting those who persecute others”.
“This case exemplifies the unwavering dedication of ICE and the Department of Justice to do justice and to arrest all those who participated in one of the greatest atrocities in history. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, ”Johnson concluded.
Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //