A 95-year-old former Nazi focus camp guard deported from the US on the weekend could escape prosecution in his native Germany.
Friedrich Karl Berger was expelled from the US after particulars emerged of his previous as a guard on the Neuengamme focus camp near Hamburg, the place 1000’s of prisoners have been pressured to work to loss of life. But prosecutors in Germany dropped an investigation in opposition to him final December as a result of they may not discover proof tying him to the battle crimes dedicated on the camp.
Mr Berger moved to the US along with his household in 1959 and lived undetected for many years in Tennessee till particulars of his previous emerged in information salvaged from a German ship sunk by the RAF in 1945.
In what could be the final Nazi battle crimes case to reach the US courts, a decide dominated he had undertaken “willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place” and ordered his deportation.
But the proof in opposition to him just isn’t thought of enough to safe a profitable prosecution within the German courts.
A lot of individuals have been efficiently prosecuted in Germany lately over their roles in focus camps, notably Oskar Gröning, the “book-keeper of Auschwitz”, who was sentenced to 4 years in jail in 2015. But German prosecutors say Mr Berger’s case differs as a result of Meppen, the Neuengamme subcamp the place he served “was not an extermination camp”.
More than 40,000 prisoners together with Jews, Poles and Russian POWs, have been killed at Neuengamme. While some have been gassed and greater than 16,000 died in pressured marches on the finish of the battle, the bulk have been labored to loss of life.
While the German courts have held that merely serving at an extermination camp like Auschwitz is enough proof of guilt, the case of Neuengamme is much less clear. Prosecutors say the 379 deaths that befell at Meppen subcamp throughout Mr Berger’s time there can’t be proved to be intentional or systematic.
“Guarding prisoners in a concentration camp which was not used for systematic killing is not sufficient evidence of a crime,” prosecutors mentioned in an announcement.
Mr Berger will probably be questioned by German prosecutors however consultants say he’s unlikely to face fees until he incriminates himself. He is at present at an assisted-living facility, in accordance with his US legal professionals.