(WKBN) – Federal authorities announced Thursday that a man living in Tennessee will be deported to Germany after being identified as a World War II concentration camp prison guard.
U.S. Immigration Judge Rebecca L. Holt ordered Friedrich Karl Berger removed from the United States because his “willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place” constituted assistance in Nazi-sponsored persecution.
Berger is believed to have been a guard at Neuengamme Concentration Camp system near Meppen, Germany. Prisoners there included “Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians, and political opponents” of the Nazis. The largest groups of prisoners were Russian, Dutch and Polish civilians.
Judge Holt wrote that the court found that Berger admitted that he guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping “atrocious” conditions that included outdoor forced labor and “working to the point of exhaustion and death.”
At the end of March 1945, with the advance of British and Canadian forces, the Nazis abandoned Meppen. The court found that Berger helped guard the prisoners during their forcible evacuation to the Neuengamme main camp – a nearly two-week trip under inhumane conditions, which claimed the lives of some 70 prisoners.
Berger admitted to never asking for a transfer from the concentration camp and guard service and that he receives a pension from Germany based on his employment in Germany and for his “wartime service.”
“Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. “This ruling shows the Department’s continued commitment to obtaining a measure of justice, however late, for the victims of wartime Nazi persecution.”
Since the 1979 inception of the Justice Department’s program to detect, investigate, and remove Nazi persecutors, it has won cases against 109 individuals.