NEW YORK (Jul. 9)
A U.S. immigration judge has ordered the deportation of a Missouri man who served as a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Michael Negele, 81, was ordered deported to Romania after the U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, proved that he had participated in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution.
Negele entered the United States in 1950 and became a citizen in 1955.
He served from November 1943 through June 1944 as an armed SS Death’s Head Battalion guard at Sachsenhausen, which is near Berlin.
He also served as a guard of prisoners at the Theresienstadt Ghetto near Prague, which served as a way station for the Auschwitz and Treblinka death camps.
Some 10,000 prisoners died at Theresienstadt, while thousands more passed through on the way to their deaths.
“Countless innocent men, women and children were brutalized and killed in Sachsenhausen and Theresienstadt,” said Michael Chertoff, assistant attorney general and head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Guards such as Negele made these crimes possible and are not entitled to the privilege of continued U.S. residence.”
Negele specialized in the use of a guard dog — he admitted to the court he used a German shepherd trained to attack prisoners who attempted to escape.
In his ruling, Judge Bruce Solow cited documents captured by OSI indicating Negele’s work as a guard.
The recent decision, however, is only a piece in the final puzzle of justice.
Jill Stillman, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said Negele’s departure to Romania is “not automatic. He has a chance to appeal.”
Negele’s attorney currently has 60 days to appeal the decision. Should he do so, the case would move to an immigration court. The final ruling could take as long as two years, although Stillman doubted it would take that long.
Negele’s citizenship was initially revoked in July 1999. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the denaturalization order in August 2000, and the Supreme Court denied his petition for review of the decision in February 2001.
The OSI was launched in 1979 to weed out former Nazis living in the United States. Thus far, 68 Nazis have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 56 have been deported. There are currently more than 170 people under investigation.