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A former Nazi guard has been deported back to Germany after spending the past 60 years living in the United States.
Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, served as a guard at Neuengamme concentration camp subcamp in 1945, moving to the US in 1959.
But the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has confirmed that Berger, who retained his German citizenship, has been deported for taking part in 'Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution'.
His role was confirmed with the helped of an index card that was discovered in sunken ship, and Berger was ordered to be removed from the US by a Memphis court back in February 2020.
Berger has maintained that he only spent a few weeks at the camp at the end of the Second World War when he was 19 years old, and that he was ordered to do so.
He also says he witnessed no incidents of murder or abuse.
However, Berger did admit he had prevented prisoners from escaping and he had never asked for a transfer from his role as a concentration camp guard.
Germany dropped its case against Berger last year, however, he has now been handed over to Hesse state investigators for questioning and new charges could be possible, although a police spokesperson told the Guardian there is currently no live investigation linked to him and he has not been taken into custody.
Speaking to The Washington Post about the case, Berger said he didn't understand what was going on.
He told the publication: "After 75 years, this is ridiculous. I cannot believe it. I cannot understand how can happen in a country like this. You're forcing me out of my home.
"I was 19 years old. I was ordered to go there."
In a statement, the acting attorney general Monty Wilkinson said Berger's deportation was an example of the department's continued 'commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses'.
He said: "In this year in which we mark the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg convictions, this case shows that the passage even of many decades will not deter the department from pursuing justice on behalf of the victims of Nazi crimes."
The Department of Justice claimed that to this day Berger receives a German state pension for his past employment in the country, which takes into account his 'wartime service'.
The acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tae Johnson said in a statement that it will work tirelessly to 'pursue those who persecute others'.
He said: "This case exemplifies the steadfast dedication of both ICE and the Department of Justice to pursue justice and to hunt relentlessly for those who participated in one of history's greatest atrocities no matter how long it takes."
The DoJ confirmed that Berger is the 70th person identified by the department as a former Nazi officer to be deported from the US.
Featured Image Credit: Department of Justice
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