Former Nazi Camp Guard Arrives in Germany After Removal From U.S.

The 95-year-old man who authorities say confessed to guarding prisoners at a German concentration camp is wanted for accessory to murder

Friedrich Karl Berger, in a photograph dated 1959 and released by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Friedrich Karl Berger, in a photograph dated 1959 and released by the U.S. Department of Justice.Credit: DOJ/ REUTERS

A former Nazi concentration camp guard who lived in the United States for over 60 years returned to Germany on Saturday after being expelled, a police spokesman said.

The 95-year-old man faces questioning by local police after arriving at Frankfurt airport. He was not arrested. U.S. Justice Department officials have named him as Friedrich Karl Berger, while German authorities refer to him only as Friedrich Karl B.

A U.S. court last year ruled that Berger should be expelled after prosecutors in the northern German town of Celle opened an investigation into whether he was involved with the murder of prisoners at a satellite concentration camp of the Neuengamme network near Hamburg in 1945.

According to German prosecutors B., who has lived in the United States since 1959, admitted to guarding prisoners for a few weeks in the Meppen area close to the Dutch border without witnessing any killings or abuse of prisoners.

The German case against him was dropped in December after prosecutors were unable to dispute his account.

Prisoners at forced labor in the Neuengamme concentration camp, Germany, 1940s.Credit: Released into public domain by KZ-Gedenkstatte Neuengamme

The U.S. court found that prisoners at the camp were held in “atrocious” conditions and were exploited for outdoor forced labor, working “to the point of exhaustion and death," the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said. The court also found, and Berger admitted, that he guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping during their dawn-to-dusk workday, on their way to worksites and on their way back to the camp in the evening.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Celle said police in the German state of Hesse had been asked to question him on his return to Germany. A police spokesman said there is no live investigation linked to him and he is a free individual and has not been taken in custody.

The DOJ said it had marshalled evidence leading to Berger's removal that its human rights section found in the United States and in Europe, including records of the trial 75 years ago of former leaders of the Nazi regime in Nuremberg.

In recent years, prosecutors have brought charges against several former Nazis, seizing the last opportunity to secure justice for the millions who perished in concentration camps.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged a 100-year-old German man with being an accessory to 3,518 murders committed while he was allegedly a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

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