JERUSALEM (JTA) – A former Nazi SS guard was freed by Austria a day after being deported from the United States.
Josias Kumpf, 83, of Racine, Wis., could not be put on trial in Austria because the statute of limitations had expired, according to the Austrian justice ministry.
The ministry told the United States before Kumpf’s extradition that he would be freed since he was younger than 20 at the time of the crimes and because he was never an Austrian citizen, nor were the crimes committed in Austria, Reuters reported.
Kumpf was born in Serbia. He immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1956 and was naturalized in 1964. He was stripped of his citizenship in 2003.
He served as an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen and Trawniki camps in Germany and Poland. Kumpf has acknowledged participating in Operation Harvest Festival in November 1943 in eastern Poland, during which 42,000 Jewish adults and children were murdered over three days. His job was to shoot to kill any prisoners attempting escape.
Kumpf has said he never actively participated in murder and that German authorities forced him into SS service when he was 17. However, in stripping him of his U.S. citizenship, American judges have ruled that Kumpf violated rules that ban naturalization for individuals who “personally advocated or assisted persecution."
Kumpf was deported to Austria because it was the country from which he came to the United States. He is technically an illegal alien, but will be allowed to remain in Austria.