Friedrich Karl Berger, 94, was deported in February and lost his appeal last week.
He told The Washington Post, quoted by The Telegraph: “After 75 years, it’s ridiculous. I can’t believe this is happening. It forces me to leave my house “.
At hearings, Berger admitted that he was a security guard at one of the camps in the Neuengamme network in northern Germany – where more than 40,000 Jewish, Polish and Russian prisoners were forced to work to death – but that he had no choice. He mentioned that he did not have a weapon.
“I was 19 years old. I was ordered to go there, “he said at the hearing that determined his deportation.
However, it was revealed that he had the role of killing at least 70 prisoners in a brutal two-week march in 1945.
Like most security guards, Berger was not a member of the SS political militia, as he was seconded from the navy to Meppen camp in northwestern Germany.
According to testimonies, he was responsible for escorting prisoners forced to work daily to dig anti-tank fortifications “to the point of exhaustion and death.” In March 1945, Berger oversaw the two-week march of prisoners after the Nazis left the camp and fled Canadian and British forces.
After the war, in 1946, Berger emigrated to Canada with his wife and daughter, and in 1959 to the United States, where he has lived ever since. Berger settled in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a city known as one of the production areas for the Manhattan Atomic Bomb Development Project. He retained his German citizenship and in all these years in which he hid his past he received a pension for his services in the German navy.
His past was discovered after his records were recovered from the SS Thielbek, a German ship sunk in May 1945. They were transcribed in 1950 when the ship was brought to the surface and repaired but only decades later could American prosecutors data of the man who lived quietly in Tennessee.
“Berger has been actively involved in one of the darkest chapters in human history,” said Louis A Rodi III, deputy assistant director of the national security department of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“He tried to hide his infamous past and come to America to start a new life. But thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Department of Justice and internal security investigations, the truth has been brought to light. War criminals and human rights violators must not be allowed to flee from justice and find refuge here. “
German prosecutors have not made an official announcement of a possible prosecution of Berger, but in recent years several security guards at concentration camps have received convictions. In 2015, Oskar Gröning, 94, named librarian at Auschwitz, was found guilty of contributing to the deaths of 300,000 Jews. He received 4 years in prison, but did not have time to execute it.