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Germans may prosecute former Nazi guard

Sept. 24, 2012 at 3:21 PM   |   Comments

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The German government says it may try to prosecute an admitted former Nazi concentration camp guard who has lived in the United States for 60 years.

Johann Breyer, 87, who now lives in Philadelphia, has admitted in court papers that he was a guard at the infamous Auschwitz camp in Poland, where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were put to death during World War II. But, he says he was just 17 at the time -- a rank-and-file soldier forced to guard the camp's perimeter, and had no ability to stop what happening inside, CNN reported.

The German government disagrees.

"He was a trained, paid, uniformed armed Nazi guard who patrolled the perimeters of two such camps with orders to shoot those who tried to escape," a German court ruled in 1994.

Breyer obtained U.S. citizenship in 1952 claiming he was a displaced person. He was granted the status, but the U.S. government later tried to strip him of the right, arguing unsuccessfully in 2003 that Nazis aren't welcome.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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