ATLANTA – An 85-year-old man accused of being a Nazi dog handler has returned to Germany rather than fight to stay in the U.S., a federal prosecutor told a judge at a deportation hearing.
Paul Henss was accused of training and handling attack dogs at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps. U.S. Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier ordered him deported after a 30-minute hearing Tuesday conducted without Henss or an attorney on his behalf present.
Henss left Friday for his native Germany, Edgar Chen, an attorney with the Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations, told the judge.
The government said Henss, a German citizen, assisted in Nazi persecution of Jews, a crime punishable by deportation under U.S. immigration law. He acknowledged to reporters last month at his home in suburban Lawrenceville that he had trained dogs but said he fought in Russia and never set foot inside Dachau or Buchenwald.
According to federal authorities, Henss joined the Nazi Party in 1940, entered the Waffen SS in 1941 and volunteered the following year to become an SS dog handler, serving from 1942 to 1944 at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps.
At the camps, Henss instructed other guards in the use of trained attack dogs to guard prisoners and prevent their escape, and personally guarded prisoners and forced-labor details to prevent escapes, authorities allege.
SS regulations during Henss' time of service said dogs were to be trained "to 'bite without mercy' and to literally tear prisoners to pieces if they attempted to escape," federal documents say.
Henss admitted in a sworn statement March 13 that he served as an SS guard at Dachau and Buchenwald for two to three months each as a dog handler, according to charging documents.
Henss said he had lived in Georgia for 10 years.