Former Nazi concentration camp guard living in Tennessee sent back to Germany for decades-old human rights violations

A Tennessee man who was a former Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II will be sent back to Germany for decades-old human rights violations, a Memphis immigration judge ruled Thursday.

Friedrich Karl Berger worked at the Neuengamme sub-camp near Meppen, Germany, where Nazis imprisoned Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Latvians, Italians, and the Dutch and French as well as other political opponents, according to a ruling by U.S. Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt.

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Meppen prisoners were held during the winter of 1945 in “atrocious” conditions and were exploited for outdoor forced labor, working “to the point of exhaustion and death.”

Berger admitted to the court during his two-day trial that, as part of his role, he guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping during their dawn-to-dusk workday and escorted them to and from their worksites.

The Nazis abandoned Meppen in March 1945 after British and Canadian forces advanced on the region. The judge found that Berger helped guard the prisoners during their forcible evacuation to the Neuengamme main camp – a nearly two-week trip under inhumane conditions where nearly 70 prisoners died.

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“Berger was part of the SS machinery of oppression that kept concentration camp prisoners in atrocious conditions of confinement,” Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s criminal division Brian Benczkowski said in a statement. “This ruling shows the Department's continued commitment to obtaining a measure of justice, however late, for the victims of wartime Nazi persecution."