US court orders deportation of ex-guard at German concentration camp


(JTA) — A U.S. immigration judge in Memphis ordered the deportation of a longtime Tennessee resident who served as a German concentration camp guard during World War II.

Friedrich Karl Berger, 94, served at a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp system near Hamburg and is still receiving a pension for work that includes his wartime service, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

U.S. Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt last week ordered Berger removed under a 1978 law, known as the Holtzman Amendment, that bars anyone who participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution from entering or living in the United States.

Berger emigrated from Germany to Canada with his wife and daughter before coming to the United States in 1959.

Justice Department historians helped prosecutors build their case against Berger.

In 1945, Allied airstrikes sunk German ships that transported prisoners from the camp. The Germans raised one of the ships a few years later and found more than 2,000 index cards containing personnel information on Berger and others. The cards were used as key evidence in the case.

Berger admitted to serving at the camp, and acknowledged that he never asked to be transferred.

“I was 19 years old,” he said. “I was ordered to go there.”

The camp held Russian, Dutch and Polish civilians, as well as Jewish prisoners and political opponents from France, Italy and other countries. In the winter of 1945, according to the removal order, prisoners were forced to live in “atrocious” conditions and work “to the point of exhaustion and death.”

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