(JTA) — Croatian authorities are investigating a former American citizen suspected of committing war crimes as an SS soldier and guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Germany’s Special Prosecutor’s Office for Investigation of Crimes during the Period of National Socialism last month alerted Croatian authorities to the presence in Croatia of Jacob Dencinger, the Croatian news outlet Jutarnji reported last week.
Dencinger, 90, reportedly was flagged by the United States for having lied in applying for American citizenship, which he received in 1972, according to Jutarnji. The Croatia native had moved to the United States nearly 16 years earlier and left in 1989 after his citizenship was revoked.
Born in Cepin, Dencinger reportedly is an ethnic German who allegedly joined the Waffen SS elite Nazi unit during World War II, when Croatia had a pro-Nazi government.
The Croatian State Attorney’s Office confirmed receiving the information but gave no further details. Additional information was requested from the United States, Jutarnji reported.
The Dencinger listed by German authorities joined the Waffen SS at the age of 18 and served as a guard in at least five concentration camps, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of labor and death camps, where 1.5 million Jews were murdered.
Sasa Cvetkovic, vice president of the Jewish Community of Zagreb, said in a statement last week that the community was “closely monitoring the investigation by the Croatian authorities.”