ATLANTA – U.S. authorities have begun deportation proceedings against an 85-year-old man who they say served as a Nazi guard and trained and handled attack dogs at the infamous Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps in Germany, officials said Monday.
The Department of Justice said it has filed a charging document against Paul Henss, a German citizen who lives in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville and who authorities say entered the U.S. in 1955 after hiding his concentration camp service.
The document, filed on Sept. 4 by the Justice Department's Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Henss joined the Hitler Youth organization in Germany in 1934 as a 12 or 13-year-old boy and joined the Nazi Party in September 1940.
In February 1941, he entered the Waffen SS then volunteered the following year to become an SS dog handler, the document said. From 1942 to 1944 Henss served as a guard at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps, where he instructed other guards in the use of trained attack dogs to guard prisoners and prevent their escape, authorities said.
SS regulations during Henss' time of service required dogs to be trained "to 'bite without mercy' and to literally tear prisoners to pieces if they attempted to escape," the document said.
According to the charging document, Henss admitted on March 13 that he served as an SS guard at Dachau and Buchenwald for two to three months each as a dog handler.
The deportation case was filed after a review of German records, prosecutors said.
"It's similar to many other cases," said Jaclyn Lesch, a Justice Department spokeswoman. "Historians combed through historical records, including Nazi rosters and other records, and they compare those with immigration records."
The government does not plan to file criminal charges against Henss, she said. The charging documents filed by the government, however, lay out the reasons why the federal attorneys believe the man should no longer live in the U.S.
She said authorities waited until the case was assigned by a chief immigration judge before making it public.
Calls placed to Henss' residence were not answered on Monday. It is not clear whether Henss is in federal custody.
The Office of Special Investigations, which handles cases against people accused of being former Nazis, began operations in 1979. Authorities said it has won cases against 106 participants in Nazi crimes.