German case against former Nazi Guard, 95, deported from US, is dropped for lack of evidence

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Friedrich Karl Berger served as a guard at a concentration camp in Neuengamme in 1945.  He is depicted in 1959

Friedrich Karl Berger served as a guard at a concentration camp in Neuengamme in 1945. He is depicted in 1959

German prosecutors have dropped their case against a former Nazi concentration camp guard for a second time after he refused to be questioned.

Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, was recently deported by the US and arrived in Frankfurt on Feb. 20 in “possibly the last” such Washington deportation of a former Nazi, an official said.

The former guard, who had lived unnoticed in Tennessee for 60 years but retained German citizenship and received a pension, was deported by a Memphis court for participating in “ Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution. ”

Prosecutors in the town of Celle, who had previously halted an investigation into Berger, reopened the investigation for alleged complicity in murders upon his return.

Berger initially said he was willing to be questioned, despite previously insisting he was only ‘ordered’ to work in the camp.

But “after all evidence is exhausted, Celle’s prosecutors have closed the investigation again for insufficient suspicion,” they said in a statement.

Pictured: A 2012 photo of former Nazi guard Friedrich Karl Berger (left).  German prosecutors dropped an investigation into Berger for lack of evidence against him

Pictured: A 2012 photo of former Nazi guard Friedrich Karl Berger (left).  German prosecutors dropped an investigation into Berger for lack of evidence against him

Pictured: A 2012 photo of former Nazi guard Friedrich Karl Berger (left). German prosecutors dropped an investigation into Berger for lack of evidence against him

Friedrich Karl Berger worked in a sub-camp Neuengamme.  The main concentration camp in Hamburg is depicted

Friedrich Karl Berger worked in a sub-camp Neuengamme.  The main concentration camp in Hamburg is depicted

Friedrich Karl Berger worked in a sub-camp Neuengamme. The main concentration camp in Hamburg is depicted

After Berger arrived in Germany, he was assigned a lawyer.

The attorney then said after consultation that his client was “not available” for questioning as a suspect, prosecutors said in a statement.

Berger served as an armed guard in the Neuengamme concentration camp system, the United States Department of Justice said.

He had lived in the US since 1959 and was stationed as a young man from January 28, 1945 to April 4, 1945 in a subcamp of Neuengamme, near Meppen, Germany.

German investigators had investigated whether he contributed to the deaths of many detainees during his time there, and in particular while following a march to evacuate the subcamp.

Berger admitted to guarding prisoners in the camps, which were part of the infamous Neuengamme network, but said he had not observed any assault or supervised an evacuation.  Pictured: Christmas celebration of the SS guards in Neuengamme concentration camp in 1943

Berger admitted to guarding prisoners in the camps, which were part of the infamous Neuengamme network, but said he had not observed any assault or supervised an evacuation.  Pictured: Christmas celebration of the SS guards in Neuengamme concentration camp in 1943

Berger admitted to guarding prisoners in the camps, which were part of the infamous Neuengamme network, but said he had not observed any assault or supervised an evacuation. Pictured: Christmas celebration of the SS guards in Neuengamme concentration camp in 1943

The Memphis court ruled that he had helped guard inmates during a forced evacuation that lasted nearly two weeks and killed 70 people.

More than 40,000 prisoners died in the Neuengamme System, data shows.

Widower Berger, who came to the US with his wife and daughter and has two grandchildren, said earlier The Washington Post about his deportation: ‘After 75 years this is ridiculous. I can not believe it. I cannot understand how this can happen in a country like this. You’re forcing me out of my house.

‘I was 19 years old. I was ordered to go there. ‘

Berger never requested a transfer from the camp, and he later received a German pension based in part on his wartime service, the Justice Department said.

In the winter of 1945, prisoners were held in Neuengamme under 'appalling' conditions

In the winter of 1945, prisoners were held in Neuengamme under 'appalling' conditions

In the winter of 1945, prisoners were held in Neuengamme under ‘appalling’ conditions

Germany has been hunting former Nazi personnel since the conviction of former security guard John Demjanjuk in 2011 for his role as part of the Nazi killing machine that set legal precedent.

Since then, courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly related to the accused person.

Among those brought to trial were Oskar Groening, an accountant at Auschwitz, and Reinhold Hanning, an SS guard in the same camp.

Both were convicted of complicity in mass murder at the age of 94, but died before they could be incarcerated.

In February, German prosecutors charged a 95-year-old who had been a secretary in the Stutthof camp of complicity in the murder of 10,000 people in the first such case against a woman in recent years.

Days later, a 100-year-old former guard in Sachsenhausen camp, north of Berlin, was accused of complicity in 3,518 murders.