(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — A Tennessee resident who formerly served as a concentration camp guard in Nazi Germany has been ordered to be removed from the United States following a two-day trial in Memphis.
Friedrich Karl Berger, according to the Justice Department, was ordered removed after admitting he served as an armed guard for a sub-camp of Neuengamme near Meppen, Germany, in which Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes and other political opponents of the Nazi regime, were subject to “atrocious” conditions working “to the point of exhaustion and death.”
Berger admitted to investigators that he guarded prisoners during a two week journey after the camp had to be evacuated due to the advance of British and Canadian forces.
Roughly 70 prisoners died during that journey, according to officials.
Still a German citizen, Berger actually continued to receive a pension for his past employment in Germany that even cited “his wartime service,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
“Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement. “This ruling shows the Department’s continued commitment to obtaining a measure of justice, however late, for the victims of wartime Nazi persecution.”
According to the DOJ, inspectors have investigated and ordered the removal of 109 other individuals who were found to have assisted the Nazis since 1979.
It was not immediately clear after Thursday’s order whether German authorities will seek to prosecute Berger upon his eventual return to the country.
In 2018, President Donald Trump personally ordered the removal of Jakiw Palij, then 95, from the U.S., citing his role as an armed guard at a death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Palij was also accused of lying to American immigration officials about his role when he came to the U.S. after the war.
Palij passed away in Germany several months after his return.
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