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The U.S. Justice Department has asked a Seattle federal court to revoke the citizenship of a Washington state resident accused of serving the Nazis.

Tuesday’s complaint alleges that Yugoslavian-born Peter Egner, 86, in April 1941 joined the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in German-occupied Belgrade, Serbia, a Nazi mobile killing unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serbian civilians during World War II.

According to the complaint, Egner has admitted volunteering to serve in the Security Police and Security Service and guarding prisoners as they were being transferred to concentration camps. Egner also admitted serving as an interpreter during interrogations of political prisoners, which sometimes involved severe torture. Prisoners often were executed following their interrogations.

Egner came to the United States in 1960 and became a citizen six years later. The Justice Department asserts that his citizenship should be revoked because he concealed his Nazi service when applying for citizenship.

“The government alleges that Peter Egner served in a notorious Nazi unit that murdered thousands of Serbian Jews and other unarmed civilians,” said Office of Special Investigations Director Eli Rosenbaum. “No one who particpated, as we allege the defendant did, in the diabolical Nazi program of persecution is entitled to retain U.S. citizenship.

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