A former Nazi concentration camp guard who had been living in the US since 1959 was deported to Germany Saturday, according to the Department of Justice.
Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, was removed from the US based on his work as an armed guard at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp complex near Hamburg in 1945. He held dozens of prisoners under “atrocious” conditions at the camp, working them to the point of “exhaustion and death,” according to court papers.
Berger also participated in a forced evacuation of the camp in March 1945, to escape advancing British and Canadian soldiers. The two-week forced march under “inhumane conditions” resulted in the deaths of 70 prisoners, according to the DOJ, which was able to trace Berger’s wartime role thanks to an index card that was found in a sunken ship years after it was bombed by the British in May 1945.
“What are the odds, you know, of that card having survived … and making it to us decades later?” said Eli Rosenbaum, director of Human Rights Enforcement Strategy and Policy for the DOJ in an interview with The Washington Post last year.
Berger, a longtime resident of Tennessee, who was still receiving a pension from Germany for his wartime service, is the 70th Nazi removed from the US, according to the DOJ.
“The Department marshaled evidence that our Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section found in archives here and in Europe, including records of the historic trial at Nuremberg of the most notorious former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime,” said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson in a statement Saturday. “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.”