(JTA) — An 89-year-old Philadelphia man who served as a Nazi concentration camp guard has been granted bail in an extradition case after being hospitalized.
A U.S. Magistrate Court judge reversed a previous ruling and granted bail to Johann Breyer on Monday, according to reports. German authorities in the town of Weiden in Bavaria have been seeking to extradite Breyer and try him for war crimes in connection with his time as a guard at Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
Breyer was hospitalized over the weekend, and his lawyers have argued that his health has deteriorated in federal detention since his arrest in June. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Breyer has suffered a series of strokes in recent years and suffers from heart disease and dementia. His lawyers claim that he has little memory of his service during the war.
Breyer, a retired toolmaker who has lived in Philadelphia since 1952, became a U.S. citizen in 1957. When U.S. authorities attempted to revoke his citizenship in 1992 to make extradition easier, he successfully argued that it could not be revoked since his mother had been a U.S. citizen. He was ordered deported in 1997 by the U.S. Immigration Court in Philadelphia, based on his admitted service as a guard at a Nazi death camp.
Breyer has previously claimed that he only served because he was required to do so, and that he merely served as a perimeter guard and never harmed anybody.