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Judge orders deportation of former Nazi camp guard

NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (JTA) — A Philadelphia man who served as a guard at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps has been ordered deported to his native Slovakia. A federal immigration judge issued the deportation order Monday against Johann Breyer, 72, who admitted that he served in the Nazi SS at the two camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. The United States will “seek to have Johann Breyer removed from this country as expeditiously as possible,” said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations. Rosenbaum said that when Breyer was a guard at Auschwitz between May and September 1944, at least 500,000 people were killed by the Nazis, including some 100,000 children. He added that guards like Breyer, who was ordered to shoot prisoners attempting to escape, were an “integral part of the Nazi apparatus of mass persecution.” In granting the OSI’s deportation request, the immigration judge ruled that Breyer’s wartime service as an SS guard constituted membership in a movement hostile to the United States, which rendered him ineligible to immigrate to the United States. Breyer, a retired tool and die maker, admitted in a sworn interview with OSI attorneys in 1991 that he was an SS guard at Buchenwald beginning in February 1943 and at Auschwitz starting in May 1944. He also admitted that while at Auschwitz, he was aware that women and children were imprisoned there and that he “saw smoke rising from the crematoria where bodies were being burned,” the OSI said. Breyer was stripped of his citizenship in 1993, a decision that was later upheld on appeal. Deportation proceedings were launched against him in January. To date, 60 former Nazis have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship as a result of OSI investigations, and 48 have been deported, according to Rosenbaum’s office. Some 300 suspected war criminals remain under
investigation.

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