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Former Nazi concentration camp guard deported to Germany

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Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, was deported, the DOJ stated, for taking part in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution whereas serving as a camp guard in 1945.

A 95-year-old German native who fought U.S. efforts to be eliminated for his wartime service as a focus camp guard has been deported, the U.S. Division of Justice stated Saturday.

Friedrich Karl “Fritz” Berger of Oak Ridge misplaced a bid earlier than the Sixth Circuit U.S. Courtroom of Appeals in Cincinnati to remain a federal immigration choose’s order and an immigration board order that he be despatched again to his native nation.

He’ll dwell in an assisted dwelling heart in Germany. The Related Press reported that German authorities confirmed Berger arrived Saturday at Frankfurt and was handed over to Hesse state investigators for questioning.

The DOJ needed Berger out, arguing he took half in persecuting Nazi prisoners at a Meppen, Germany, sub-camp in March 1945 and in addition was a part of a pressured evacuation of prisoners within the waning days of World Conflict II.

“Berger’s elimination demonstrates the Division of Justice’s and its legislation enforcement companions’ dedication to making sure that the US is just not a secure haven for individuals who have participated in Nazi crimes towards humanity and different human rights abuses,” stated Appearing Legal professional Basic Monty Wilkinson stated in Saturday’s launch.

Berger himself was not a Nazi. He was a member of the German Navy, dispatched as a 19-year-old to assist guard prisoners within the Neuengamme focus camp system that was based mostly in Hamburg.

He was amongst a bunch of Navy guards ordered to maintain watch over prisoners as they got here and went within the Meppen work camp close to the Dutch border. Meppen had two subcamps.

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The Nazis cleared the camp out in late March as Allies superior towards Germany, forcing the prisoners to stroll or go by prepare over two weeks to the principle Neuengamme hub, data present.

Dozens died in the course of the evacuation, in keeping with the U.S. authorities.

Berger was captured in a German forest in April 1945. The Nazi commander of the Meppen camp escaped.

Berger was held a prisoner of the British till Christmas Eve 1945, after which he was freed and went to work in post-war Germany on behalf of the British, data present.

In 1956, he emigrated to Canada. In 1959, he was allowed to maneuver along with his household to the US, data present.

Berger settled in Oak Ridge. In a short dialog final yr with WBIR, he declined to touch upon the DOJ’s efforts.

He leaves behind a daughter within the Oak Ridge space who had been taking care of him.

Knoxville lawyer Hugh Ward of the Younger, Williams & Ward agency labored for months to permit his consumer to remain in America. Ward argued Berger by no means was a Nazi, by no means harmed anybody and hardly knew use the gun he was issued.

He additionally insisted at age 95 that Berger was frail and suffered coronary heart issues. A pressured transfer again to Germany would endanger his well being, particularly amid the worldwide pandemic, Ward argued.

The appellate court docket was unswayed.

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A 3-judge panel dominated Feb. 11 it had heard sufficient to persuade it that the immigration choose’s order ought to prevail and Berger ought to go. The DOJ sought to take away him below a federal legislation it has used to pressure out individuals who took half in committing persecution throughout Adolf Hitler’s horrible reign in Germany.

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Berger is the 70th such “persecutor” faraway from the U.S., in keeping with the DOJ.

Eli Rosenbaum, former director of the U.S. DOJ Workplace of Particular Investigations, informed WBIR final yr Berger seemingly is the final of his sort to face deportation from America.

Technically, Berger’s appeals efforts are ongoing.

Ward filed an appeals movement earlier this month citing the reason why the choose’s order and a federal immigration board affirmation order needs to be stayed. The federal government had a March deadline to reply.

However Judges Martha Craig Daughtrey, David McKeague and Amul Thapar determined they’d heard sufficient.

Whereas “Berger requests that we defer ruling on the movement till the case is totally briefed, the executive file is prolonged and the events totally briefed the related points under.

“Thus, no hurt will end result from ruling on the movement previous to the completion of briefing,” their ruling states.

The court docket stated it did not discover that Berger’s well being was at risk.

“Primarily based on Berger’s present medical data, his circumstances are being handled, they aren’t instantly life threatening, and there’s no indication he can’t be handled upon elimination. Additional, the Appearing Legal professional Basic represents that the federal government will comply with the procedures for eradicating these with medical points. Underneath these circumstances, Berger has not proven that his alleged harms rise to the extent of irreparable hurt.”

The judges stated they had been satisfied that Berger met a federal check when it got here to persecution of harmless folks in the course of the struggle.

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“There was ample documentary proof that quite a few prisoners died whereas Berger was stationed there, and that prisoners had been shot and killed throughout tried escapes. Berger’s navy data place him on the Meppen subcamps similtaneously one other naval man, whose account means that guards knew of atrocities occurring at Meppen,” the court docket wrote.

After the struggle, the Allies centered on discovering and prosecuting the Nazis who executed Hitler’s efforts to manage Europe and exterminate populations, together with Jews, it deemed undesirable.

Hundreds of German navy personnel quietly pale again into society.

Berger’s struggle data had been amongst papers recovered years later when a sunken German cargo steamship referred to as the Thielbek was salvaged in 1949. British RAF bombers sunk the Thielbek in Could 1945 within the Bay of Lubeck off the Baltic Sea.

Greater than 2,700 on board died. Many had been Neuengamme system prisoners of struggle placed on the ship by the Nazis because the Allies closed in, in keeping with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Berger has continued to attract a German pension, partially for his wartime service, in keeping with the DOJ.

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