CHICAGO -- A school janitor accused of heading a Nazi Death's Head Unit at a Polish concentration camp should be allowed to stay in the United States because he was only 'part of the system,' his attorney told a federal immigration judge.
Attorney Robert Korenkiewicz spoke Wednesday, the first day of a deportation hearing for Reinhold Kulle, 61 of west suburban Brookfield.
The Justice Department says Kulle lied about his Nazi SS affiliation on his visa when he emigrated from West Germany to the United States in 1957.
The Justice Department contends Kulle concealed his service as an SS guard in the Gross-Rosen Labor Camp from 1942 to 1945.
Korenkiewicz said Kulle was only 'part of the system' and did not mistreat any prisoners. He said Kulle admits he was a member of the SS, but was not responsible for any of the war crimes committed in the camp.
Korenkiewicz said Kulle did not violate the law when he failed to reveal his SS connection because he was not asked whether he had served in the SS.
'Reinhold Kulle is a good man today,' Korenkiewicz told the court. 'He has always been a good man.'
Historian Charles Sydnor testified prisoners at the Gross-Rosen labor camp were routinely punished by members of the SS Death's Head unit. He said the soldiers sometimes punished prisoners by putting them in solitary confinement or beating them.
Sydnor said prisoners were executed in front of SS guards and other prisoners.