A former guardian of a German concentration camp was transferred to Germany after a stay of more than 60 years in the United States. Friedrich Karl Berger, a 95-year-old German, was a camp keeper of an outdoor camp of Neuengamme concentration camp, southeast of Hamburg in 1945.
According to envisaged Justice Minister Wilkinson, the expulsion shows that the US is not a free haven for those involved in Nazi crimes and other human rights violations. “This case shows that even after many decades, we are not afraid of pursuing justice for the victims of the Nazis.”
“No abuses seen”
Berger has lived in the United States since 1959. The US Department of Justice has examined his role and he has confirmed to the American authorities that by the end of World War II he worked for several weeks in the outdoor camp near Meppen, near the border with the Netherlands. He said he didnt see any abuses or murders at that time.
Berger said he was making sure people didnt escape from the camp. He also confessed that he was involved in the evacuation of the camp in 1945, killing at least 70 prisoners.
Around 106,000 people were imprisoned in Neuengamme. Approximately 55,000 prisoners did not survive the stay. More than 5500 Dutch people were deported to camp Neuengamme. Only 600 of them returned after the war.
A US court ruled last year that Berger should be deported after an investigation in the German city of Celle had begun to investigate his involvement in the death of prisoners in the outdoor camp. Last December, prosecutors in Germany dropped the case against him because they did not have enough evidence to refute Bergers story.
Free man in Germany
However, the German prosecutor asked the police in the Land of Hesse to interview Berger after his arrival at Frankfurt Airport. This will have to be done voluntarily: a police spokesperson says that there is currently no investigation against the former camp keeper and that he is a free individual.