Johann Breyer, accused Nazi living in Philly, dies while judge orders extradition

"No statute of limitations offers a safe haven for murder," judge wrote, not knowing suspect had died.

By Matt Bradwell

PHILADELPHIA, July 23 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia man accused of aiding Nazi war crimes while he was a prison guard at Auschwitz died Wednesday, just hours after a judge ordered his extradition to Germany.

Investigators allege Johann Breyer joined the Waffen SS when he was 17-years-old, and was posted as a guard at Auschwitz II-Birkenau where he assisted in the systematic murder of over 200,000 Jewish prisoners during WWII.


On Wednesday morning, U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice ordered Breyer's extradition to Germany, writing, "Given Breyer's role as an elite SS armed guard at a camp designed and operated almost exclusively as a killing center for Jews, Germany has established probable cause of Breyer's complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz."

"No statute of limitations offers a safe haven for murder."

But what Rice didn't know as he wrote the yet-to-be-approved extradition order, was that Breyer had just died. According to his attorney Dennis Boyle, the 89-year-old passed away Tuesday night at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in downtown Philadelphia.


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